Grace Notes: Senator-popularity ranking hints that David Vitter made the right call _lowres

U.S. Sen. David Vitter

On the night he lost the race for governor last fall, David Vitter announced he would not seek reelection to the U.S. Senate this year. And a new online poll ranking all 100 senators’ popularity in their own states suggests he made the right call.

The Republican senator’s approval rating came in at 44 percent, which just happens to be the same percentage he drew in his loss to Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards last year. His disapproval rating was 40 percent, so slightly more people said they liked him than disliked him. But it’s never a good sign when an incumbent scores lower than 50 percent on such surveys, particularly when he represents a state where most people share his political leanings.

Stacked up against his colleagues in the ranking by the Morning Consult, which describes itself as a “nonpartisan media and survey technology company,” Vitter finishes near the cellar. His disapproval rating ranks seventh highest in the nation, on a list led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, whose national role might well lead some of his constituents to feel like they’re not his top priority.

Louisiana’s other U.S. senator, fellow Republican Bill Cassidy, actually had a lower approval rating than Vitter, with 40 percent of the 759 registered voters interviewed between January and mid-April expressing their approval. But his disapproval number, 31 percent, is also lower.

Cassidy tied for 7th on “don’t know/no opinion” ranking, with 29 percent declining to express any opinion. This may be spillover from his 2014 victory over three-term veteran Mary Landrieu, in which he stressed pure partisanship at the expense of his own biography.

Maybe that will change when he becomes the state’s senior senator next year, once David Vitter joins the other politician who dominated Louisiana politics in recent years, former Gov. Bobby Jindal, in early retirement.

‘Grace notes’ is a daily feature by Advocate columnist Stephanie Grace. To read more of her content, including her full columns, click here.