Poll shows Collins displaces McConnell as most unpopular senator
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who has come under mounting pressure as President Trump’s impeachment trial starts, is now the Senate’s most unpopular member, displacing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in the rankings, according to a new tracking poll.
A quarterly Morning Consult tracking poll finds that Collins’s net approval rating has dropped 10 points in Maine since the end of September, a sign of the intense fire she has taken from critics since the House launched its impeachment inquiry.
Morning Consult reported Thursday evening in a preview of its survey findings that Collins, who is up for reelection this year, now registers a 52 percent disapproval. Her approval rating stood at 42 percent.
McConnell, the second least popular senator, registered a disapproval rating of 50 percent and an approval rating of 37 percent among the voters in his state of Kentucky.
Kevin Kelley, a spokesman for Collins’s campaign, raised concerns about the survey’s methodology.
“This is an online poll that has little credibility. We are confident that it does not reflect reality, and Senator Collins remains focused on the job that Mainers elected her to do,” Kelley said.
The tracking poll surveys 5,000 registered voters across the United States on a daily basis and compiled data from 500,000 interviews in the last three months of 2019. Morning Consult says the margins of error vary by state and party. You can see the margin of error for each senator here.
Throughout the fall, as new information has emerged about pressure the Trump administration put on Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, Collins has adamantly maintained her neutrality.
She repeatedly told reporters that she took her role as a prospective juror seriously and didn’t want to comment about emerging developments as it might influence her constitutional duty to impartially consider articles of impeachment.
During that time she has been the target of advocacy groups pushing for Trump’s impeachment such as Need to Impeach, which in October announced a $3.5 million ad campaign focused on GOP senators.
Collins took some criticism this week when she downplayed new evidence released by the House Intelligence Committee revealing that Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, had made it his objective to instigate an investigation of Biden.
Democrats have also expressed dismay that she did not support an organizing resolution that required additional witness testimony and document review at the start of the trial.
Collins issued a statement Thursday afternoon asserting that her position on witnesses has often been mischaracterized and predicted she would likely vote to hear new evidence.
“For this trial, as was done in 1999, both sides should have the opportunity to state their case and the Senators should have the opportunity to pose questions. Then, the Senate should have an up-or-down vote on whether to subpoena witnesses and documents,” she said.
Collins added “it is likely that I would support a motion to call witnesses” after both the House impeachment managers and Trump’s lawyers have made their opening arguments and senators have had a chance to ask questions.