As the impeachment trial of Donald Trump begins, a lot of attention is being paid to Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who has made a lot of ambivalent noise about possibly cooperating with Democrats on allowing new evidence and witnesses to appear during the trial, against the wishes of her party leader, Mitch McConnell.
Now comes news from Morning Consult that as her moment of truth approaches, Collins has displaced McConnell as the senator with the highest disapproval rating back home:
With downward movement among voters of all political stripes between the last two quarters of 2019, she ended the year as the country’s most unpopular senator as she launched her re-election campaign, unseating Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for the distinction with a 52 percent disapproval rating.
It’s the fact that she’s losing support from all directions that makes the trial particularly difficult for Collins. It’s not like she can repair her standing by leaning in one direction or the other:
[S]he’s lost some of the ground she made up with Republican voters in Maine following her strong defense of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his controversial Senate confirmation. Meanwhile, she continued to bleed support among Democrats (from minus 41 points to minus 48 points) and independents (from minus 5 points to minus 10 points) in the fourth quarter, ahead of what’s expected to be a competitive race against a well-funded Democratic rival this fall, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon.
It’s got to be a weird feeling for the once invulnerable center-right senator:
You can see how she could be battered by cross-winds in a state that is still basically blue, but where her own Republican Party has been moving steadily to the right (and had enough strength to carry one of the state’s two congressional districts for Trump in 2016). The thing about this impeachment trial is that she is most decidedly not going to be able to please everybody.