The most unpopular senator has officially been crowned

Joe Manchin, one of the least popular senators, has seen his approval rating improve from 38 to 42 per cent since the beginning of this year

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Tuesday 31 October 2023 16:35 GMT
Related video: Manchin declares US a ‘center-right’ country

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has been named as one of the most unpopular senators in the US.

Mr Manchin is part of a dying breed of politicians on either side of the aisle who are able to win statewide in states where the presidential nominee of the opposite party usually wins by a large margin. In 2020, former President Donald Trump received nearly 69 per cent of the vote in the state.

Mr Manchin, a former governor, has declined to say if he’ll run for senate re-election next year as the state’s popular current governor, Republican Jim Justice, is gearing up to take him on. Mr Manchin has also not ruled out an independent bid for president.

Even as Mr Manchin is one of the most unpopular senators in the country, his approval rating in West Virginia increased by four per cent since the first quarter of this year and his disapproval rating declined by seven points, according to Morning Consult.

The boost in popularity mostly came from Republican voters, but as a group, they’re still much more likely to approve of rival Mr Justice.

Mr Manchin’s approval rating went from 38 to 42 per cent in West Virginia since the beginning of this year, with his disapproval rating going from 55 to 48 per cent. Most of this change is fueled by GOP voters. In this group, Mr Manchin’s disapproval rating went from 60 to 48 per cent since last quarter, Morning Consult notes.

Committee chairman Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) arrives for a Senate Energy Committee hearing on Capitol Hill September 7, 2023 in Washington, DC
Committee chairman Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) arrives for a Senate Energy Committee hearing on Capitol Hill September 7, 2023 in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

The polling company writes that the improving numbers for Mr Manchin reveal that “at least some West Virginia voters are willing to shake off the displeasure they expressed after Manchin ditched his opposition to President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda and cast a decisive vote for his Inflation Reduction Act in 2022”.

But Mr Manchin is still struggling as one of increasingly few Democrats in deep-red states as he looks set to face Mr Justice, who appears likely to win the Republican nomination for Senate, backed by Trump.

The most popular senator in the country is John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming with an approval rating of 70 per cent. He’s followed by Democratic Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz, who has an approval rating of 65 per cent.

Republican governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa is the most unpopular governor in the US. She saw her disapproval rating go from 39 to 47 per cent since the first quarter of this year.

Her disapproval rating increased as a result of independent and Republican voters souring on her in a year when she signed harsh anti-abortion legislation and was blasted byTrump for supposedly being allied with his 2024 primary rival Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

In the strong Republican state of Kentucky, Democratic governor, Andy Beshear, remains a very popular figure. Even so, Mr Beshear’s ratings appear to have taken a hit amid his re-election campaign against the GOP nominee, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

The election is set to take place on 7 November.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in