Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) faces an unprecedented crisis in public opinion, as revealed by a recent Monmouth University poll. McConnell has been in the Senate since 1985 and still describes himself as a “Reagan Republican.” However, issues surrounding his leadership of the GOP in the upper chamber have now drawn a new low in approval ratings that cuts across the political spectrum.
The poll shows that merely 6% of all Americans approve of McConnell’s job performance, while 60% disapprove and 34% of respondents do not have a firm opinion.
Things are hardly better among Republican voters, as only 10% approve of McConnell and 41% expressed disapproval.
Mitch McConnell Job Approval:
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) December 18, 2023
This downturn in McConnell’s popularity is isolated. When compared to other political figures, McConnell’s ratings paint a grim picture. He remains the least popular politician in the country, consistently scoring lower than other congressional leaders and even President Joe Biden, whose approval rating has also suffered. According to the same poll, Joe Biden’s approval rating stands at an all-time low, with particular criticism directed toward his handling of immigration and inflation.
McConnell’s plummeting approval ratings could be attributed in part to his leadership decisions, which have not always aligned with the broader Republican base. For instance, his strategy during the last electoral cycle, particularly the decision to redirect campaign funds in Alaska, drew criticism within the party. “McConnell undermined Republican efforts to reclaim the upper chamber by redirecting scarce resources from competitive races in key states to a contest between two Republicans in Alaska,” reported a source familiar with GOP dynamics.
Adding to the political turbulence are concerns about McConnell’s health. The 81-year-old senator, who is up for reelection in 2026, has experienced public health scares and two freezing episodes during press interactions this year. Despite these challenges, McConnell remains steadfast in his political commitments. “Despite a series of recent public health scares, the Republican Senate leader says he has no plans to leave Capitol Hill before his latest term expires in 2027,” confirms a close McConnell associate.
In sharp contrast, other congressional leaders enjoy relatively stronger support within their parties. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), for example, maintain substantial approval among Democrats. Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) begins his tenure on a more positive note, especially among Republicans.
The Monmouth poll was conducted from November 30 through December 4. It surveyed 803 American adults and carries a margin of error of plus/minus 4.8 percentage points. Bottoming approval of key GOP leadership figures presents the party with some difficult strategic decisions as the 2024 presidential and congressional election season is well underway.