Is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) the most unpopular Republican in the GOP? The senator has been involved in US politics since 1968 and has held elected office since 1977. A fixture on Capitol Hill, he has maintained the image of a moderate in a time of so-called extreme, mega MAGA Republicans. But as the right-leaning lawmakers in the upper chamber do battle with the likes of Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and J.D. Vance (R-OH) over the direction of the GOP, it seems more conservative voters are becoming tired of the old generation of the Republican Party and favor the America First ticket.
Mitch McConnell – An Unpopular Man
If the senator from the Bluegrass State were an Academy Award-winning motion picture, he would most likely be the 2004 winner Crash. At first, audiences and critics adored the film. However, as time passed, it became one of the most despised Oscar winners, with the consensus being it was overrated. This is comparable to McConnell’s tenure as a Republican big shot, which is evident in the general polling trend over the years, venturing from star to dud.
Monmouth University recently published a poll of Republican voters about the 2024 election cycle. The results? Twenty-three percent had a favorable view of McConnell, compared to 53% who had an unfavorable impression. Twenty-two percent had no opinion of him. No other GOP name had a worse unfavorable rating, including beleaguered Rep. George Santos (R-NY), who garnered a 42% unfavorability score.
Put simply, McConnell was less palatable to Republicans than Santos, according to the survey. This might be the first honest thing relating to Santos known to the public. Meanwhile, the Monmouth study revealed that the four most popular Republicans in the country were Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (80%), former President Donald Trump (74%), Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (73%), and former Vice President Mike Pence (55%).
Other surveys have highlighted similar trends for Mitch McConnell. For example, a January study by Morning Consult revealed that he held a disapproval rating of 64% in his home state, with just 29% giving him a thumbs up. The other unpopular senators included Ron Johnson (R-WI), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ). Conversely, the most liked individuals in the Senate were Bernie Sanders (I-VT), John Barrasso (R-WY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Angus King (I-ME).
Just before the world turned the calendar year, a Public Policy Polling poll found that McConnell earned a 55% disapproval rating among Kentuckians. In comparison, only 37% of state voters approved of his time in the US Senate.
The Trump Factor?
Is a particular 45th president contributing to the rampant dislike for Mitch McConnell? It is no secret that Trump has been highly critical of the Senate Minority Leader, writing in a Jan. 9 Truth Social post:
“We must now stop Mitch McConnell and his China flagrant boss, Coco Chow. It’s as though he just doesn’t care anymore, he pushes through anything the Democrats want. The $1.7 TRILLION quickly approved Bill of the week before was HORRIBLE. Zero for USA Border Security. If he waited just ten days, the now ‘United Republican Congress’ could have made it MUCH BETTER, or KILLED IT. Something is wrong with McConnell, and those Republican Senators that Vote with him. PRIMARY THEM ALL!!!”
Indeed, since the real estate billionaire mogul descended that golden escalator, many GOP careers have been destroyed, whether that of former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) or former Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC). This is not exactly a surprise, considering Trump boasted about this accomplishment in August 2018, telling a crowd at a massive Ohio rally that “I only destroy their career because they said bad things about me and you fight back, and they go down the tubes, and that’s OK.” Should McConnell choose to run again in a few years, will the ex-president be his downfall? Perhaps Trump’s polling data will confirm if he still possesses the political power to influence candidates’ futures in public office. If not, maybe DeSantis will showcase his electoral might instead.
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