Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) just can’t seem to get on America’s good side.
The independently-minded Republican from Maine is the least popular senator, according to a new poll that showed her plummeting below Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Collins is part of a group of Republican moderates who are being closely watched for how they’ll vote on allowing witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
Poll: Susan Collins least popular senator
As Democrats mount pressure on Collins to push for additional witnesses, her approval ratings are tumbling. The new MorningConsult poll found that Collins’ net approval dropped to just 10 percent — with 52 percent disapproving — since September, while McConnell had a 50 percent disapproval rating.
Collins’ campaign brushed off the poll. “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,” a spokesman for her re-election campaign said.
Known for trying to strike compromises in a deeply partisan time, Collins has rattled Democrats and Republicans alike with her unpredictable decisions. In the end, she’s unlikely to make either side happy in the impeachment matter.
Collins earned the life-long resentment of progressives when she voted to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in 2018, disappointing liberals who had hoped she would cross party lines. Since her Kavanaugh vote, Collins, who is seeking re-election this year, has increasingly come into the cross-hairs of left-wing advocacy groups.
The Republican moderate is, once again, under scrutiny for how she’ll vote on allowing witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial. While McConnell has been open about his contempt for the Democrats’ case against Trump, Collins has expressed discomfort with his wishes for a quick trial leading to Trump’s acquittal.
In partisan era, the moderate senator is isolated
But Collins also disappointed Democrats when she downplayed new evidence from Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-born former associate of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, about Trump’s actions toward Ukraine. The Republican senator echoed many of the hardliners in her party when she questioned whether Democrats had not rushed to judgment by impeaching the president based on an incomplete record.
The senator sought to clarify her position Thursday, saying she would “likely” vote in favor of additional witnesses. But Democrats still criticized her for following the model of former President Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment, in which a vote was taken on witnesses after opening arguments — not before.
“While I need to hear the case argued and the questions answered, I tend to believe having additional information would be helpful,” she said in a statement. “It is likely that I would support a motion to call witnesses at that point in the trial just as I did in 1999.”
First elected in 1996, Collins is seeking her fifth term this year. She voted “not guilty” in Clinton’s impeachment.