Outgoing Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona managed once again to make headlines as he left office.
Flake, a constant critic of President Donald Trump bears the title of the least popular senator according to a Morning Consult poll.
The survey set out to assess the popularity of senators within each senator’s home state. Flake left office with 49 percent of those polled disapproving of his performance.
Flake was tied for the dubious honor with outgoing Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who was defeated in November by Republican Josh Hawley. During her campaign, McCaskill offended #MeToo victims in an unsteady campaign.
Flake’s stream of criticism of Trump eventually brought a Twitter rebuttal from the president that reflects the sentiment Morning Consult found in its polling.
“How could Jeff Flake, who is setting record low polling numbers in Arizona and was therefore humiliatingly forced out of his own Senate seat without even a fight (and who doesn’t have a clue), think about running for office, even a lower one, again? Let’s face it, he’s a Flake!” Trump tweeted in June.
How could Jeff Flake, who is setting record low polling numbers in Arizona and was therefore humiliatingly forced out of his own Senate seat without even a fight (and who doesn’t have a clue), think about running for office, even a lower one, again? Let’s face it, he’s a Flake!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2018
Although the poll was taken from October through December, criticism of Flake did not end when he left office.
You mean Jeff Flake’s embarrassing conduct over that past two years wasn’t about “principles” and was an audition for a TV gig as the resident “anti-Trump” Republican? Who could have seen this coming?! https://t.co/45tS0GsDeY
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) January 11, 2019
Morning Consult noted that liberal Vermont was the happiest with its senators. Vermonters gave independent Bernie Sanders a 64 percent approval rating and Democrat Pat Leahy a 62 percent rating.
Sanders, it noted, has been atop the poll for 11 straight quarters.
Wyoming Republican John Barrasso, who tied Leahy, was the top-rated Republican senator.
South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham had a 51 percent approval rating, and saw a 15-point increase in his net approval (those approving minus those disapproving).
Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska went in the other direction. Murkowski had been a key vote in the confirmation battle over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and ended up voting against the nominee. That cost her among Alaska voters.
“Her approval among Republicans fell by 18 points (42 percent to 24 percent) from the third to fourth quarters, while her disapproval grew from 39 percent to 60 percent. It was enough to put the Energy and Natural Resources chairman 3 points underwater on the quarter, with 39 percent of Alaska voters approving and 42 percent disapproving of her,” Morning Consult reported.
Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, who battled to win re-election in a campaign marred by charges of racism, also dropped 10 points from the third quarter to the fourth quarter.
The poll showed that on average, 45 percent of those surveyed approved of their senators. An average of 32 percent disapproved.
That is less-than-stellar news for presidential hopeful Kamala Harris of California, who registered 43 percent approval. New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker, another talked-about 2020 contender, polled at 47 percent approval.
Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren, a likely 2020 candidate, registered an approval rating of 51 percent among Massachusetts voters, who elected her in November.
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