Large majority of GOP voters support replacing McDaniel as RNC chair: poll

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel
AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel arrives on stage before House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks at an event on Nov. 9, 2022, in Washington.

A majority of Republican voters believe the party should move on from Ronna McDaniel and elect a new chairperson for the Republican National Committee (RNC), according to a new poll from a conservative grassroots group.

A survey by Convention of States Action conducted by the Trafalgar Group in late December found roughly 73 percent of Republican voters said the party should elect someone new to lead the RNC at the party’s meetings later this month. Six percent of those surveyed said McDaniel should be reelected to a fourth term, while 21 percent said they weren’t sure.

The poll was obtained exclusively by The Hill.

“Voters believe the only way to hold the GOP accountable for its failures is to make way for new leadership. Grassroots activists have known for a long time that GOP leadership in Congress and at the RNC aren’t focused on fighting for conservative principles, or even winning a majority, but rather keeping themselves in power and funding the permanent political consultant class,” said Mark Meckler, president of the Convention of States, a group that backs holding a constitutional convention to rein in federal power.

The results reflect some of the growing unrest with McDaniel’s leadership of the RNC as she faces her first real challenge since taking over the national party apparatus in 2017. While a growing number of conservatives are calling for her to step down, McDaniel has the support of a majority of RNC members, which is all she needs to win reelection.

McDaniel’s critics have pointed to the party’s underwhelming 2022 midterm performance, where the GOP lost a Senate seat and only narrowly retook the House despite low approval ratings for President Biden. Since McDaniel took over the RNC, Republicans lost the House in 2018 and lost the White House and Senate in 2020.

The Convention of States Action poll found 63 percent of voters viewed the Republican Party and its congressional leadership as ineffective at getting Republicans elected in 2022, compared to 36 percent that viewed it as effective.

The poll also found 44 percent of respondents said they are less willing to donate money to the GOP or Republican candidates after the 2022 midterm results, while 43 percent said they weren’t sure if they’d be more or less likely to donate.

McDaniel’s defenders argue candidate quality was largely to blame for recent GOP struggles and that the RNC does not choose candidates. The party is mainly responsible for raising and distributing money and pushing for broader reforms on debates and election integrity, areas where McDaniel’s backers believe she has excelled.

The survey was conducted from Dec. 17-21, 2022, polling 1,078 registered GOP and GOP primary voters. Trafalgar Group, which conducted the poll, has an A- rating on FiveThirtyEight’s pollster ratings.

McDaniel is facing a challenge from Harmeet Dhillon for RNC chair. Dhillon previously served as an attorney representing former President Trump in lawsuits related to the 2020 election, and she is an RNC member from California.

To win reelection, McDaniel needs to win the support of only a majority of the 168 members to secure another term, while Dhillon will need the support of at least two RNC members in three different states or territories to even get on the ballot. Each state and territory has three RNC members.

An endorsement letter circulated last month contained the signatures of 107 RNC members backing McDaniel to stay on as chairwoman, well more than the 84 she would need to win reelection at the party’s January meetings. Four former RNC finance chairs have also written to members expressing their support for McDaniel, rebuffing criticism about party spending and touting her fundraising credentials.

“Just like the RNC, Chairwoman McDaniel’s decision to run for re-election was member driven. Members of the 168 rallied around the Chairwoman because of her unprecedented investments in the grassroots, election integrity, and minority communities, and for taking on Big Tech and the biased Commission on Presidential Debates,” Emma Vaughn, a spokesperson for McDaniel’s reelection bid, said in a statement.

“Member support for the Chairwoman has grown since her announcement and she will continue speaking with each and every member about how the party can continue building upon our investments and make the necessary improvements to compete and win in 2024,” Vaughn added.

Tags Convention of States Action Republican National Committee Ronna McDaniel Ronna McDaniel

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