by Jon Schweppe
Morning Consult is out with a fresh batch of approval ratings for all 100 U.S. Senators.
Check out the top three most popular senators, as rated by their constituents:
What about the top three most unpopular senators according to disapproval rating?
While approval ratings aren’t everything, they certainly point to vulnerability and are especially useful for analyzing the 2018 landscape. I’ve written previously about the GOP’s quest for a filibuster-proof majority — 60 seats — in the Senate, which would allow Republicans to pass virtually anything they want. Right now, they’re at 52. They would need to win a net +8 seats in 2018 (and keep the House) in order to achieve this historic mandate.
Below is a list of every vulnerable senator in 2018 with their Morning Consult approval ratings.
There is good news and bad news on this list.
The good news? Some of the current seats held by Democrats that may have seemed like reaches six months ago appear to be very competitive. Sens. McCaskill (Missouri), Warren (Massachusetts), Baldwin (Wisconsin), Stabenow (Michigan), Menendez (New Jersey), and Kaine (Virginia) all register somewhat high disapproval ratings.
The bad news? Some of the “gimme” seats aren’t “gimmes” at all. Sens. Heitkamp (North Dakota), Manchin (West Virginia), and Tester (Montana) are all enjoying strong favorability ratings, despite being Democrats in red states that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump.
Republicans will have their work cut out for them to get to 60 seats. It’s going to take top-notch candidates, a lot of sweat equity, and, oh, millions and millions of dollars.
But if Republicans manage to succeed, the reward would be well worth it. It’s hard to imagine Mitch McConnell being bothered by his temporary “most unpopular senator in the country” designation if it also came with a license to pass any bill he wanted and leave a lasting legacy.