According to a new poll just 27 percent of people surveyed think Democrats should keep House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as their leader in the House. Of the Democrats surveyed, nearly half said that Democrats should have a new leader after November’s elections.
The new American Barometer poll released Thursday found that a bare majority of Democrats — only 51 percent — think that Pelosi should keep her position as leader of House Democrats. Nearly as many — 49 percent — said they should have a new leader.
Among independents an overwhelming majority — 79% said they believe that Rep. Pelosi should be replaced and 91 percent of Republicans agreed.
Criticisms of the current House Democratic Leader have come as many Democratic candidates for the House in 2018 have refused to commit to supporting Pelosi as the Democratic leader in 2019 with the new Congress.
Much of the discussion has centered around the possibility of the Democrats winning majority control of the House which would give them the opportunity to choose the new Speaker of the House. Pelosi did hold that position the last time the Democrats had a majority in the House and her tenure was marked by controversy, but also by accomplishment.
Now, however, she is seen as a polarizing figure who is being criticized even by many incumbent Democrats who have said they have reservations about her continuing her leadership position.
POLITICO reported in June that over 20 Democratic candidates for the House said they would not vote for Pelosi to continue to be their party’s leader in 2019.
For the first time there have been serious questions raised concerning Pelosi’s ability to secure the 218 votes she would need to become Speaker in a Democratic-controlled House.
On her end, Pelosi has kept the issue on the back burner while she is focused just on winning elections in the fall. She has made comments indicating that she would expect to remain the Democrats’ leader and be the next Speaker of the House should Democrats win the majority in November. Democrats are thought to have an excellent chance of taking back House control after November’s midterms.
Pelosi’s official spokesperson, Drew Hammill, took issue with the new poll, saying that “it was designed to generate a negative result for Leader Pelosi.”
Hammill pointed to data which shows that the Republican congressional leaders, Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have long been extremely unpopular with Republican voters.
The survey found that Democrats’ desire to replace Rep. Pelosi increased when they were told that she had been leader of House Democrats since 2002.
This may be an indication that Democrats want a new generation of younger leaders to take over now as the party faces new challenges in the Trump era. Pelosi is 78 years old and will turn 79 in March. The #2 Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, is 79 and will turn 80 in June.
“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, the director of the American Barometer poll.
Republicans hope to tie Democratic candidates to the unpopular Pelosi as a campaign issue to prevent a Democratic takeover.
“She’s been sort of the boogeyman for some time,” said Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster.
“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 then added that she believes that Rep. Pelosi will remain Democratic leader for two more years after November’s elections.
Republican pollster Jim Hobart said that he believes the GOP candidates place too much reliance on attacks on Pelosi. “Running against Nancy Pelosi is like running against George W. Bush in 2010 which Democrats tried to do. It didn’t work,” Hobart said.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.