A Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey of public opinion, finds that the American people like House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy even less than outgoing House Speaker John Boehner. McCarthy is expected to replace Boehner as speaker, but Americans are making it clear that he won’t do so with their enthusiastic support.
Only 12 percent of Americans view McCarthy favorably, while 38 percent hold an unfavorable opinion of the California Congressman. He is equally disliked across the political spectrum, with just 11 percent of Democrats, 12 percent of Independents, and 14 percent of Republicans viewing him favorably.
By comparison, John Boehner has a slightly higher 21 percent approval rating. Boehner is more well known and also has a higher 64 percent disapproval rating. However, accounting for the fact that McCarthy is less well known than Boehner, he is still less popular even if one confines the analysis to people who have formed an opinion about the Congressman.
The difference is probably not statistically significant, so it may be more accurate to say McCarthy is equally disliked rather than more despised than Boehner. With Americans who have formed an opinion, Boehner has a negative 25/75 favorable rating, while McCarthy’s is incrementally lower at 24/76.
Part of McCarthy’s difficulties stem from his clumsy admission that the Benghazi hearings were a sham designed to derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Democrats and many Independents regard him as an ideologue who is more dangerous than Boehner. Yet, movement conservatives still view him as a member of the GOP establishment and therefore, their political enemy, in much the same way they felt Boehner was.
For example, influential conservative talk show host Mark Levin slammed McCarthy as being “Eric Cantor with ten less IQ points”. For true believers like Levin and much of his talk show audience, even right-wingers like McCarthy and former Majority Leader Cantor, who was deposed in a 2014 GOP primary, are not conservative enough.
Kevin McCarthy hasn’t even taken the speaker’s gavel yet, and already American public opinion has lined up against him. Disliked by the right, the left, and the center, McCarthy will have to shore up his image quickly, or his tenure as House Speaker could be a very short one.