Most and Least Popular Democratic Senators

In the first two years of his administration, President Joe Biden was backed by a Democratically controlled congress. With a Democratic majority on Capitol Hill, Biden pushed through a number of legislative initiatives, including a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and a sweeping set of policies aimed at reducing emissions. But in the 2022 midterm elections, the Democratic Party lost control of Congress, and the U.S. entered a new era of divided government. 

Historically, the party that controls the White House typically loses congressional seats in midterm elections. The 2022 midterms were no exception. The number of Democrats in the House fell from 222 to 213 in the wake of the election, while the number of Republicans climbed from 212 to 222. 

Though the Democratic Party lost control of the House, the party was able to maintain a razor thin majority in the Senate, defying many pollster projections. Currently, 48 Senate seats are held by Democrats and another three are held by independents, who caucus with the Democrats, while only 49 seats are held by Republicans. 

But if the Democrats are to maintain control of the Senate after the 2024 election, they face another uphill battle as many senators in the party do not have the support of a majority of their constituency. 

Using data from public opinion research company Morning Consult, 24/7 Wall St. identified the most, and least, popular Democratic senators. We ranked all 51 senators who are either Democrats or caucus with the Democrats by their 2023 approval rating. Ties were broken by disapproval ratings, and in cases where governors shared the same approval and disapproval rating, the senator with the largest survey sample size ranked higher.

Among the 51 U.S. senators on this list, approval ratings range from as high as 65% to a low of 38%. Should they choose to run, 23 of these senators are up for reelection in 2024 – and a little over half of those 23 have approval ratings under 50%. 

In national elections, Americans tend to vote for candidates of a single party. And with Biden’s approval rating hovering at 43% – just below his 44% average – this poses a significant hurdle for three sitting Democratic senators who represent states that went to former President Donald Trump in 2020 – Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Sen. Jon Tester of Montana. (Here is a look at Biden’s approval rating in every state.)

Opportunities for Republicans to pick up Senate seats in 2024 do not stop there. Independent Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s approval rating stands at just 42%, while her disapproval rating stands at 44%. 

Notably, however, many of the most popular U.S. senators are also Democrats, or independents who caucus with the Democrats. Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz and Vermont Sens. Bernie Sanders and Peter Welch are among the five senators with the highest approval ratings, with over 60% support. Of them, only Sanders’ seat is up for grabs in 2024. (Here is a look at America’s most popular senators.)

Click here to see the most and least popular democratic senators.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

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