LOUISVILLE-- As a whole, Congress is not popular. A Gallup poll for the first part of March found that only 26 percent of people think Congress is doing its job well.
Within Congress, Kentucky's senior senator polls among the lowest. A Public Policy Polling survey from February found that 33 percent of people approve of how Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell is doing his job. That survey was paid for by the Ditch Mitch Fund, but done by PPP which does polling for different organizations.
Another poll, this one from Morning Consult, from the end of 2018, put McConnell at a 38% percent approval rating.
Dr. Dewey Clayton, a political scientist with the University of Louisville, says despite that McConnell doesn't need to feel nervous about his 2020 campaign. "Oh, McConnell will be re-elected, for sure." Clayton explained, "He is the majority leader in the Senate, and many people will say, even if they don't like the person, people will clearly say that 'he's got the clout to do what we want', and I think that many people in this state, they see that he's a mastermind as far as the legislative process is concerned."
McConnell consistently polls badly, but he's been serving in the Senate since 1985 and Clayton says that could help him.
He explained political scientist Daniel Elazar studied how different states think about politics. Clayton said, "He had come up with a typology of looking at the states, and he looked at them and classified them either as traditionalistic, individualistic, or moralistic. Traditionalistic states were states where a lot of the people cared about politics, but it was still sort of like not really their business, and it was the business of various families and various leaders who kind of ran things and they were comfortable with that. Elazar placed Kentucky into that traditionalistic and individualistic."
Clayton continued, "A lot of people get comfortable with leaders, so you get people like Senator McConnell who has been in office for 30 years. And everyone is 'ok, fine. You know, he's got seniority now, he's bringing the bacon back to the state."
The Political Science professor says one of McConnell's strengths is that he has done a good job of evolving as conservative values and priorities have evolved.
With about a year and a half until the 2020 election, Democrat Steven Cox has announced he will run against McConnell.
Politico reports that retired fighter pilot Amy McGrath is being courted by Democratic leaders to run against McConnell.
The Marine veteran most recently ran against 6th District Congressman Andy Barr, losing by that race by about 3 percent.
McGrath has not said if she will run or not.