Historically, the first midterm election of any new president’s administration often results in a net-gain of congressional seats to the opposition party. Between the end of World War II and 2018, there have been 19 such elections. Of those, the president’s party gained seats in the Senate only four times and in the House only twice.
While the 2022 midterm elections followed the historical pattern in the House, the Senate elections were a different story. Though the Republican Party was widely favored to win a Senate majority by a narrow margin, Democratic candidates prevailed in a series of tight races, and the GOP’s foothold in the chamber fell from 50 seats to 49. (Here is a look at Biden’s approval rating in every state.)
In the months since the election, political pundits have attempted to understand how the Republican Party squandered the opportunity to gain seats in the Senate, and one common answer has been weak candidates running in swing states. These include Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and Herschel Walker in Georgia, both of whom, unlike their Democratic opponents, had never held elected office.
For elected officials who want to keep their job, some level of popularity is necessary. And even though sitting Republican senators have won their recent races, many have largely fallen out of favor with their constituents and face an uphill battle, should they choose to run for reelection.
Using data from public opinion research company Morning Consult, 24/7 Wall St. identified the most and least popular Republican senators. We ranked all 49 Republican senators by their 2023 approval rating. Ties were broken by disapproval ratings, and in cases where senators shared the same approval and disapproval rating, the senator with the largest survey sample size ranked higher.
Among the 49 Senate Republicans, approval ratings range from just 28% to as high as 63%. Of all 100 U.S. senators, seven of the 10 least popular are Republicans – including Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, whose approval rating is by far the lowest of any sitting senator. Meanwhile, four of the 10 most popular U.S. senators are Republican. (Here is a look at the most and least popular Democratic senators.)
Click here to see the most and least popular Republican senators.
Click here to see our detailed methodology.
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