A poll released this month by Western Kentucky University suggests that Mitch McConnell is the least popular among the state’s two Republican U.S. Senators.
A survey of more than 500 of the state’s residents at least 18 years old gave the Senate Majority Leader a 30 percent approval rating. WKU Political Science Professor Joel Turner heads the Social Science Research Center at WKU, which conducted the poll.
He says popularity typically hasn’t been behind McConnell’s rise to leadership.
“The thing to keep in mind is that when Senator McConnell has run for re-election, he has never run as Mr. Popularity. He’s always run as Mr. Effective, and those can often be two different things.”
Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator, Rand Paul, maintained the highest job performance rating among poll respondents at 45 percent. Dr. Turner said he thinks the Bowling Green Republican has remained an outsider politician which has increased his favorability.
“He’s not seen as the establishment guy and Senator McConnell is the ultimate establishment person. The last time he ran for re-election, he ran as the establishment guy in terms of leader of the Senate. That makes sense.”
President Donald Trump enjoys a higher approval rating in Kentucky at 45 percent compared to the national average. Trump easily carried the bluegrass with 62 percent of the vote in the 2016 general election.