A poll released by Morning Consult on Thursday shows embattled Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is the least popular Democrat in the U.S. Senate.
According to the poll, only 39 percent of Missouri voters approve of her performance in the job, while 44 percent disapprove, giving her a negative five point net approval rating, the lowest of any Democratic senator.
Four Democratic senators have lower approval ratings: Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) at 33 percent, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) at 34 percent, Gary Peters (D-MI) at 36 percent, and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) at 37 percent–but they all have higher net approval ratings than McCaskill.
Even Sen. Menendez, who spent more than two years under indictment on public corruption charges before a mistrial was declared in November and the Department of Justice decided in January to drop all charges, is held in higher regard by his New Jersey constituents with a negative four point net approval rating than McCaskill is by her Missouri constituents.
Sen. Durbin has a negative three point net approval, and the two newer senators with lower approval ratings than McCaskill have significantly higher net approval ratings.
Sen. Peters has a plus seven point net approval rating from his Michigan constituents, while recently appointed Sen. Smith has a plus 12 point net approval rating from her Minnesota constituents.
McCaskill is one of ten Democratic senators up for re-election in 2018 in states won by Donald Trump in 2016. Trump won Missouri by 19 points.
Unlike 2012, when McCaskill faced a flawed Republican candidate in former Rep. Todd Akin and won a 15 point victory despite her own weaknesses, Morning Consult’s poll emphasizes her vulnerability to defeat in 2018.
McCaskill’s likely Republican challenger, Attorney General Josh Hawley, has a strong conservative record and has been endorsed by President Trump. According to the Real Clear Politics Average of Polls, McCaskill and Hawley are currently in a statistical tie.
McCaskill has stumbled through a number of significant missteps recently.
In June, for instance, McCaskill “admitted . . . that she, her husband, and their private family foundation donated a total of $1,000 to the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation, on whose board of directors Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak serves as honorary chairman.”
She has also opposed his most important bills, voting against the White House immigration proposal, against banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, against confirming Alex Azar as Secretary of Health and Human Services, and against the very popular Tax Cuts and Jobs bill that President Trump signed into law in December.
McCaskill has also found herself in the uncomfortable position of admonishing Hillary Clinton, whose presidential campaign she enthusiastically supported, for Clinton’s criticisms of Missouri voters who backed President Trump in 2016, as Real Clear Politics reported:
In an interview with MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt that aired Sunday night on the network, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) reacted to a campaign commercial from her opponent which quotes Hillary Clinton calling states that voted for Donald Trump “backward.” Trump won Missouri. McCaskill said her comments were not helpful and she should “be more careful” and “show respect.”
“For those of us that are in states that Trump won we would really appreciate if she would be more careful and show respect to every American voter and not just the ones who voted for her,” the incumbent Senator said.
The Cook Political Report currently lists McCaskill’s Missouri race as one of five “Toss-ups” in states where Democratic senators are up for re-election.