Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Al Franken Receives First Grade As U.S. Senator: Minnesotans Split Down the Middle

Bookmark and Share

As DFL Senator Al Franken inched into office by the narrowest of margins, both he and 2008 Republican opponent Norm Coleman endured negative net favorability ratings as their expensive, and frequently brutal campaigns gained neither candidate favor with a majority of Minnesotans.

A few weeks out from Election Day saw unfavorable numbers for Franken rise to 53 percent in a December Rasmussen poll, with that number increasing to an all-time high of 55 percent in mid-May in the midst of Coleman's lawsuit (even though Minnesotans believed by a 4:1 margin that Franken would ultimately be named the winner of the race).

Shortly after Coleman's concession speech in late June, Franken was able to drop the "elect" from his title, and now Minnesotans have weighed in on their first opportunity to rate his performance as a Senator in Washington, D.C.

A newly released SurveyUSA poll conducted only two weeks into Franken's tenure finds Minnesotans unsurprisingly divided about how he is conducting himself as their Senator in Washington. The poll finds 43 percent of Gopher State adults approving of his job performance and 45 percent disapproving.

A recent Smart Politics analysis of Franken's colleague Amy Klobuchar found her approval ratings approaching a career low at 54 percent in July. Overall, many Democratic and Republican Senators have seen their approval ratings take a hit this year in light of the nation's economic and budget troubles.

Still, Franken begins his second month in office with one of the worst net approval ratings among newly elected members to the Senate in recent years.

A Smart Politics analysis of SurveyUSA data finds only Virginia Democratic Senator Jim Webb to have notched a lower net approval rating in his first month in office than Franken, of the nine Senators tracked by SurveyUSA who have entered office since January 2007.

By comparison, Senator Klobuchar's first ratings in January 2007 found her with a +26 net approval rating, with 56 percent approving of her early job performance and just 30 percent disapproving.

Net Approval Rating of Recently Elected U.S. Senators (Tracked by SurveyUSA)

State
Senator
Date
Approve
Disapprove
Net
VA
Mark Warner
1/09
67
20
+47
NM
Tom Udall
1/09
63
24
+39
MN
Amy Klobuchar
1/07
56
30
+26
OH
Sherrod Brown
1/07
47
32
+15
MO
Claire McCaskill
1/07
50
40
+10
OR
Jeff Merkley
1/09
42
34
+8
NY
Kirsten Gillibrand*
2/09
41
33
+8
MN
Al Franken
7/09
43
45
-2
VA
Jim Webb
1/07
42
47
-5
Note: Gillibrand was appointed to her seat. SurveyUSA data compiled by Smart Politics.

Still, Franken's low approval rating should not surprise political observers as the DFLer only received 42 percent of the vote last fall - virtually identical to the percentage of those now approving of his job performance (43 percent).

Similarly Senator Klobuchar received 58 percent of the vote in November 2006, which is about on par with her 56 percent approval rating in January 2007 just a few months later.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Can the DFL End Its Gubernatorial Drought?
Next post: Will Minnesota and Wisconsin Elect Governors from the Same Political Party in 2010?

1 Comment


  • I CAN'T BELIEVE THE STATE OF MINNESOTA COULD VOTE THIS FREAK IN TO OFFICE.

    This man is evil----he is also stupid
    It makes me ill to even look at his face on TV

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

    Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

    Political Crumbs

    Six for Thirteen

    Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


    Seeing Red

    Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting