The Senate is a vital element in the government of the USA. These people get to vote and pass the laws, rules, and bills. Therefore, their role has been crucial since the 18th century, when the Senate was established. Each state has two representatives with a term that lasts six years. It is not determined who many terms a senator can serve, meaning that some have been in this role for quite some time.
Nowadays, due to media and press, senators are under intense scrutiny. In a nutshell, citizens have access to every aspect of their lives. Naturally, this information shapes the public’s opinion, which is why we have gathered a list of the most and least popular senators.
1. Bernie Sanders
Even if you are not from the USA, you know how Bernie Sanders is. Without a doubt, he is the most popular senator with an approval rating of 62%. Sanders was the 37th mayor of Burlington from 1981 to 1989. He was also a congressman representing Vermont. He was also one of the leading candidates of Democrats for the 2023 election against Hillary Clinton.
2. Patrick Leah
Leahy is also a senator representing Vermont, and according to citizens, he ranked in second place. Considering that he has been in this role since 1974 and has been in the Senate during Gerald Ford’s presidency, he is currently the most senior member. In January of this year, it was announced that he would be presiding over Trump’s second impeachment trial, which made him the first member of the Senate to do so.
3. Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar has been a member of the Senate since 2007, when she became the first woman to be elected as a senator from Minnesota. Before this, she was a county lawyer at Hennepin County. Even though she received a lot of negative press as an abusive and aggressive boss at her office, Klobuchar is still at the top of the list with a favorable rate of 58%.
4. John Barrasso
Before running for a Senate for the first time in 1996, Barrasso had a private orthopedics practice in Casper, Wyoming. In 2002, he became a member of the State Senate, and in 2007, after the death of Craig L. Thomas, he became the US senator. Originally, we have selected to finish his predecessor’s term, and then, he was re-elected in 2012 and 2018. He is a member of the Republican party and is also a chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.
5. Mike Rounds
Prior to being appointed as the South Dakota senator in 2015, Marion Micheal Rounds served as a state’s governor for eight years (between 2003 and 2011). Apart from his political career, Rounds is known as one of the people who Trump to abandon the Paris Agreement. He was once again elected as the US senator in 2023 and is currently serving his second term.
6. Jeanne Shaheen
Jeanne Shaheen’s career made history. She is not only the first women governor of New Hampshire, but she is also the first female US senator representing the said state and also the first female who holds both achievements. She became a governor in 1996 and was re-elected for the same role in 1998 and 2000. When it comes to the US Senate, she ran for the position in 2002 but lost against John E. Sununu. Then, in 2008, she ran again and won. In 2023, she was re-elected as a member of the Senate and is now serving her third term.
Now, let’s talk about some so public servants who do not have many supporters
7. Mitch McConnell
McConnell is, without a doubt, currently one of the least popular members. Even though he has been a senator since 1985, many people would argue that his career is quite controversial, to say the least. He was condemned for blocking many judicial nominees made by former president Barack Obama, including Merrick Garland’s nomination for the Supreme Court. Despite the fact he supported several of Trump’s policies in the past, McConnell holds Trump responsible for the Capitol attack that occurred in January 2023.
8. Rick Scott
Although we cannot say he is one of the least popular senators right now, an approval rate of 42% puts him near the bottom of the list. After losing the run two times, Scott won the elections in 2018. However, the results were so close that a mandatory recount was requested by his opponent Bill Nelson. Scott became a senator in 2019, after concluding his run as a governor of Florida. According to Scott Cooper, Rick’s name appeared on the front pages after his consultant was photographed in a rather unfortunate moment. Read more about it here.
9. James Lankford
The act of opposing LGTBQ+ rights is what put Lankford at the bottom of the list. Because of this, the Human Rights Campaign also made him one of the members of their “Congressional Hall of Shame.” Before he became a junior senator in 2014, he was the director of the oldest church camp in Oklahoma, called Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center, as well as a part of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. His current approval rate is 47%, and in 2016 he was re-elected after winning 68% of the votes.
10. Bob Menendez
Finally, we reached the least popular member of the US Senate. Considering many controversies that followed Menendez’s career, the fact that his approval rate is only 33% is not that surprising. He has been in the office since 2006, representing New Jersey.
The first of the several scandals Menendez was associated with was in 2012 when he was accused of being in contact with two prostitutes who were underage. However, after a few months, the women confessed they were paid to lie. Then, in 2015, he was accused of corruption together with an ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen. The trial began in 2017, but it was soon declared a mistrial since the jury was unable to reach a verdict. Finally, in January 2018, all charges against Menendez were dropped.