Susan Collins was once one of the most popular senators in America, but a new poll suggests that President Trump has affected her standing in Maine — all while the Republican faces what could be her toughest re-election campaign.
The poll, released by Morning Consult on Thursday, showed Collins as the second most unpopular senator in the US with a 45 percent approval rating, and 48 percent saying they disapprove of her job performance. Four years ago, Collins was the second most popular senator in the country with a 78 percent approval rating.
In fact, since Trump entered the White House, her approval rating has dropped 16 percentage points. According to the pollster, no other senator as seen their standing hurt more by Trump in their home state.
Collins faces Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon — her first well-known and well-funded Democratic challenger in many elections. Gideon has been officially backed by the Senate Democrats and EMILY’s List and, according to her campaign, she raised her first million for the race in a matter of days.
Collins, meanwhile, still has significant name recognition from being an incumbent for over 20 years and has socked away many millions that could be used for such a fight.
“This is not surprising as Senator Collins continues to be subjected to a nonstop barrage of negative and false attacks fueled by millions of dollars in dark money,” said Collins spokesman Kevin Kelly. “But as soon as Mainers focus on next year’s campaign, and Senator Collins’ extraordinary record of bipartisan accomplishments, we are confident that she will prevail just as she has in past elections when extreme, out-of-state interests have tried to defeat her.”
The Morning Consult poll, which tracked constituents of 100 senators and 50 governors, found New England residents have strong feelings about their elected officials. The poll used a combination of phone and internet surverys to nearly a half-million US residents from April 1 through June 30 and grouped the results of each state together.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, once again is the most popular governor in America. In addition, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and Vermont Governor Phil Scott, also Republicans, ranked third and fourth respectively.
But Southern New England residents are just as passionate apparently in not liking their governors. Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and newly elected Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, both Democrats, ranked in in the top five of least popular governors.
And while Collins is the second least popular senator, her Maine colleague Angus King, an independent, is the most popular senator in the country with a 62 percent approval rating. And the second and third most popular senators are the pair from Vermont, Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy.
James Pindell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell or subscribe to his Ground Game newsletter on politics:http://pages.email.bostonglobe.com/GroundGameSignUp