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Hawley’s favorability drops in Missouri after riot, but it improves with GOP nationally

Kansas City Star logo Kansas City Star 1/23/2021 Bryan Lowry, The Kansas City Star
Josh Hawley wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: Josh Hawley, R- Mo., asks questions during a Senate Homeland Security& Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to discuss election security and the 2020 election process on Dec. 16. © Nash Greg/TNS Josh Hawley, R- Mo., asks questions during a Senate Homeland Security& Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to discuss election security and the 2020 election process on Dec. 16.

WASHINGTON — A plurality of Missouri voters disapprove of Republican Sen. Josh Hawley two weeks after the U.S. Capitol riot, according to a new poll.

The Jan. 18 survey of 743 registered voters found that 49% disapprove of Hawley, the state’s junior senator, compared to 36% who approve of his job performance, according to The Morning Consult.

That amounts to a 12-point negative swing in Hawley’s net favorability since the day before the Jan. 6 insurrection. It is also a 17-point shift since the week President Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 election— when a plurality of Missouri voters approved of Hawley’s job performance.

Hawley’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the poll.

He remains popular with Republicans in the state, with 63% approving compared to 21% who disapprove. But these numbers represent a dip from November, when 73% approved against only 8% who disapproved.

Hawley has faced intense backlash since the riot at the Capitol left five dead, including a police officer.

He has rejected charges that as the first senator to announce his intention object to Biden’s electoral victory he bears responsibility for the chaos at the Capitol. His political mentor, former Sen. John Danforth, is among those who have blamed him.


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“But for him it wouldn’t have happened,” Danforth told The Kansas City Star the day after the riot.

The Morning Consult noted that Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, who voted against Hawley’s objection to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, is now more popular than Hawley with overall electorate. Among all voters, 40% approve of Blunt compared to 41% who disapprove.

But there are deep divisions in the GOP base and now only 3 out of 5 Republicans approve of both senators.

Among GOP voters, 61% approve of Blunt, who stands for re-election in 2022, and 20% disapprove. Hawley’s term is up in 2024, the same year as the next presidential election.

Hawley’s decline among Missouri voters has been coupled with an increase in his name recognition and favorability among Republican voters nationally, according to The Morning Consult.

In August, just 11% of GOP voters nationally had a favorable opinion of Hawley. The overwhelming majority, 74%, had never heard of him or had no opinion, while the remaining 16% had no opinion, according to The Morning Consult’s data.

However, Hawley’s national favorability among GOP voters has more than doubled since August.

As of this week, 27% of Republican voters have a favorable opinion of Hawley compared to 12% with a negative view, a figure that represents a significant increase since August and a slight improvement since Jan. 5, the day before the Capitol siege.

But a majority, 60%, still have not heard of him or have no opinion.

The Morning Consult also tested the favorability of Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who is facing an ethics complaint from Senate Democrats along with Hawley for his role in the effort to overturn the election.

Cruz experienced a similar drop among his home state voters, but his favorability among GOP voters nationally remains largely unchanged since November. The Texas senator has higher name recognition than Hawley after his 2016 presidential run. As of this week, 55% of GOP voters approve of Cruz compared to 19% who disapprove.

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