Only 27 percent of people surveyed in a new poll think Democrats should keep Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as their leader in the House, with nearly half of Democrats surveyed saying the caucus should pick a new chief.
The new American Barometer poll released Thursday by Hill.TV and HarrisX found that just 51 percent of Democrats surveyed think that House Democrats should keep Pelosi as their leader. Forty-nine percent said the caucus should pick a new leader.
Seventy-nine percent of independents said that Pelosi should be replaced, while 91 percent of Republicans said House Democrats should pick a new leader.
The dismal figures come as a number of Democratic candidates and incumbent members of the House refuse to say they will support Pelosi in a vote for the House Speakership.
In June, Politico reported that more than 20 Democratic House candidates have said they would not vote to elect Pelosi to be their party’s leader.
The declarations have raised real questions about whether Pelosi could secure the 218 votes needed on the House floor to become Speaker.
Pelosi has downplayed the issue, saying that she expects to be the next Speaker of the House should Democrats win the majority this fall. Election handicappers see Democrats as having a good chance of taking back the House in November’s midterms.
Reached for comment, Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s spokesman, argued that the poll was “designed to generate a negative result for Leader Pelosi.”
He pointed to polling data which shows that the GOP’s congressional leaders, Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), have long been extremely unpopular with Republican voters.
The survey of 1,021 registered voters found that Democratic support for replacing Pelosi increased when respondents were told that she had been elected to lead House Democrats in 2002. Fifty-six percent of Democratic respondents said they wanted to pick “someone else” when informed how long Pelosi had led the caucus.
“Democrats are split on whether to keep Nancy Pelosi as leader and independents and most voter groups want someone else to step up. The findings suggest a yearning for change,” said Dritan Nesho CEO of HarrisX.
Republicans are actively seeking to tie Democratic candidates to Pelosi, who has been a polarizing figure for more than a decade.
“She’s been sort of the boogeyman for some time,” Anna Greenberg, a managing partner at the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner said during a panel discussion aired on Thursday’s episode of “What America’s Thinking,” Hill.TV’s web show about public opinion and the polling industry.
“I’m skeptical that those ads really work so I think that even though Nancy Pelosi is unpopular, I have never seen a lot of strong evidence in congressional races that calling these people Pelosi Democrats has actually had all that much impact on what actually happens,” Greenberg said, adding that she believed that Pelosi would remain Democratic leader for two more years should her party gain control of the House.
“I’m certainly on the keep Pelosi bandwagon,” Republican pollster Jim Hobart told host Joe Concha before adding that he believed his party had become too reliant on attacks on the long-serving Democratic leader.
“Running against Nancy Pelosi is like running against George W. Bush in 2010 which Democrats tried to do. It didn’t work,” Hobart said.