Washington Democrats are pointing fingers after last week’s special election defeat in Georgia, but the party’s voters aren’t ready to jettison House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.
While Pelosi (D-Calif.) remains among the most unpopular figures in American politics, few Democratic voters in the survey blame her for Democrat Jon Ossoff’s defeat last week or for Democratic losses in 2010, 2014 and 2016.
Overall, 43 percent of voters think Pelosi should be replaced as Democratic leader, compared with only 26 percent who think she should remain in the post. Three in 10 voters say they don’t know or don’t have an opinion.
But among Democratic voters, just over a quarter, 27 percent, want Pelosi booted as the party’s leader in the chamber. That’s fewer than the 41 percent who want Pelosi to stay, and the 31 percent who don’t have an opinion.
The same split is evident in Pelosi’s favorability ratings. Overall, 31 percent of voters view Pelosi favorably, compared with 46 percent who view her unfavorably. Her unfavorable rating is second-worst among political leaders tested in the poll; 48 percent of voters view President Donald Trump unfavorably.
The partisan division is revealing: Pelosi has a 2-to-1 favorable-to-unfavorable rating among Democrats, 49 percent to 25 percent. But her ratings among Republicans (21 percent to 63 percent) and independents (20 percent to 52 percent) are far worse.
And there’s an enthusiasm gap, too: Republicans’ negative feelings toward Pelosi are more intense than Democrats’ positive opinions.
"A common argument is that fervent Republican opposition to Pelosi is more potent than her lukewarm Democratic support," said Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult co-founder and chief research officer. "The polling appears to bear this out: Just 16 percent of Democratic voters have a ‘very’ favorable opinion of her, while 49 percent of Republicans have a ‘very’ unfavorable one."
In the days following last week’s race in Georgia — now-Rep. Karen Handel (R-Ga.) was sworn in on Monday — Pelosi has faced questions about her continued leadership. But she has mostly dismissed concerns about her poor public image by touting her efficacy as a fundraiser and legislative leader. “I think I’m worth the trouble, quite frankly,” Pelosi said last week.
Few Democratic voters disagree, the poll shows. Thirty-six percent say things have been “mostly good” for House Democrats under her leadership — roughly two times the 19 percent who say things have been “mostly bad.” A combined 45 percent either say Pelosi’s record has been mixed or have no opinion.
But, again, the views of Democrats are at odds with the broader pool of all voters. Overall, only 22 percent say things have been mostly good for Democrats, compared with 39 percent who say they have been mostly bad.
Specifically, only 11 percent of Democratic voters say Pelosi is “very responsible” for the party losing the House in 2010. And just 13 percent say she is “very responsible” for Ossoff’s loss.
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted June 22-24, surveying 1,994 registered voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.
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