Friday, August 19, 2005

The Lowdown on the Upper Chamber

[[P O L L S]] * Maybe U.S. Senator Rick Santorum should begin looking for a new job. The two-term Pennsylvania Republican, known for equating gay sex with polygamy and incest, denouncing Boston’s Catholic priest pedophile scandal as the result of Beantown’s “political and cultural liberalism,” and his prominent role in the Terri Schiavo fiasco (he claimed Schiavo was “executed”) has the lowest approval rating among the 100 members of the U.S. Senate, according to SurveyUSA. Santorum, a conservative representing a moderate-to-liberal state (which last year endorsed John Kerry over George W. Bush), is considered “extremely vulnerable” in his 2006 race against Pennsylvania’s state treasurer, Democrat Bob Casey Jr., with some polls already favoring Casey, the son of a former two-term governor. But Santorum can rest assured that his approval-disapproval breakdown isn’t that much worse than the other nine senators who make up the bottom 10 of SurveyUSA’s list. In order from number 90 to 100, here are those losers of the pack:

  • Mark Dayton (D-Minnesota)
  • Conrad Burns (R-Montana)
  • Jon Corzine (D-New Jersey)
  • Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey)
  • Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
  • George Voinovich (R-Ohio)
  • Mike DeWine (R-Ohio)
  • Mel Martinez (R-Florida)
  • Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma)
  • Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania)
Certainly not a group of unknowns. Corzine, for instance, is a former Goldman Sachs executive who’s currently running for the New Jersey governorship, while Martinez formerly served as Bush’s secretary of housing and urban development. However, none of these folks earns anything close to the approval ratings of the favorites on SurveyUSA’s roster. From one to 10, those senators are:
  • Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)
  • Susan Collins (R-Maine)
  • Barak Obama (D-Illinois)
  • Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota)
  • John McCain (R-Arizona)
  • Thomas Carper (D-Delaware)
  • Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont)
  • Joseph Lieberman (D-Connecticut)
  • Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota)
  • Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota)
For comparison’s sake, Snowe, a moderate Republican in her second Senate term, boasts a 77 percent approval rating and an 18 percent disapproval rating (for a net approval of 59 percent), while Santorum slides in with a 42 percent approval rating and 46 percent disapproval rating (for a net approval of -4 percent). Everybody else’s numbers, of course, fall between those. The Senate, as a whole, earns a 56 percent approval rating and a 32 percent disapproval rating (net approval: 24 percent)--better than might have been expected in a year when neither Congress nor the White House has shrouded itself in glory.

READ MORE: Top Democratic Senate Targets for 2006 (MyDD); Top Republican Senate Targets for 2006 (MyDD).


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