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Chuck Schumer's poll ratings drop amid partisan battles in Washington

Schumer had the lowest poll numbers in more than a dozen years in New York in two recent polls.

Sen. Chuck Schumer's approval rating among state voters

Sen. Chuck Schumer's approval rating among state voters overall has dipped to 53 percent from 67 percent in December 2016, a recent Quinnipiac poll shows. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s job approval ratings have fallen in New York in a trend that political experts say is connected to his profile rising in Washington, D.C.

Schumer confronted his lowest poll numbers in more than a dozen years among New York voters in two polls last week.

The toxicity of national politics and his prominence in the partisan fighting — including as an antagonist to GOP President Donald Trump — are contributing factors, the experts say.

It’s “proof perhaps that even one of the most popular of senators can get muddied up in today’s Washington swamp,” said Tim Malloy, Quinnipiac University Poll assistant director.

The top Democratic elected official has seen his popularity fall most steeply among New York Republicans.

His approval rating among state voters overall has dipped to 53 percent, a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday showed. It was his lowest point since taking office as a senator in 1999.

He had a 52 percent favorability rating in a Siena Research Institute poll of state voters released Thursday, his lowest ever in Siena surveys, which started in 2005.

Siena and Quinnipiac polls released in December 2016, before he became Senate minority leader, showed him at 67 percent approval.

Siena found he had a 55 percent approval among GOP state voters then but only 23 percent this month.

“He’s become — like Nancy Pelosi — the face of the Democratic opposition in Washington,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “Among New Yorkers, for his whole career, up until last year, Chuck Schumer while seen as a liberal was never viewed in a particularly strong partisan way.”

Schumer’s numbers still show the majority of New York voters support him — and he’s far more popular in the state than Trump, a fellow New Yorker who had a 30 percent approval in the Quinnipiac poll and 33 percent in the Siena survey.

Schumer also holds near weekly news conferences in New York City, two recent ones addressing the flu epidemic and regional rail travel safety.

Schumer has contributed to bipartisan efforts to fund veterans care, education and the fight against opioid abuse, too, his spokesman Angelo Roefaro said.

Schumer enjoyed broad support for most of his career for addressing consumer issues that concern citizens, regardless of political affiliation, said political scientist Kenneth Sherrill.

“In his own way Schumer has been very skilled at being Senator Pothole himself,” Sherrill, professor emeritus of political science at Hunter College, said in a nod to the nickname for Schumer’s predecessor, Republican Al D’Amato.

“Now, he’s Senator Democrat and he’s taken the lead on being critical of the president,” Sherrill said. “That of course antagonizes Republicans.”

Schumer’s approval rating is 6 percentage points lower now than it in December 2016 among voters who identify as liberals, 16 points lower among moderates and a 24 points lower among self-identified conservatives, Siena found.

GOP strategist Susan Del Percio noted that Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also has taken a hit in New York polls.

“There’s an overall feeling that Washington is just a horrible place,” Del Percio said. “People also feel like you’re not doing your job at home.”

Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf predicted Schumer can win back New Yorkers.

“He still has four more years before his next election,” Sheinkopf said. “He will recover. He’s the hardest working man in politics, he’ll travel the state, he’ll be Chuck Schumer.”

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