Interesting numbers in this Survey USA poll of ever Senator in the country. Of the top 10 most popular, a full eight are Democrats. Of the 10 least popular, eight are Republicans. If you restrict it to only Senators up for reelection next year, seven of the 10 most popular are Democrats (I'm counting Jeffords as a Democrat here) and, again, seven of the 10 least popular are Republicans. Odd synchronicities, really.
That's a party without many heroes. More to the point, the most popular members of the Republican caucus are the non-Republicans: Collins, Snowe and McCain. Democrats, conversely, have full-fledged partisans up there: Obama, Conrad, Leahy, Dorgan, Inouye, Rockefeller, and Reed. If you compare the party leaders, Reid is 46th in popularity, with a 57% approval rating, while Frist is all the way down at #74, with an anemic 51% approval rating. Rick Santorum and Ohio's Mark DeWine are the nation's least-liked incumbents up for reelection while Frank Lautenberg and John Cornyn are the most disliked senators period.
The question, I guess, is whether we're seeing a crop of Republican senators that nobody likes, or the diffused affects of a Republican party Americans are losing patience with. In any case, the numbers looks good, both for our senators facing reelection and the vulnerability of theirs. Incidentally, Bill Frist is probably smart to retire this term. In the last month his ratings have dropped 7%, from 58% to 51%. Looks like Tennessee is tired of watching him run for president from the Senate floor.