Most Republicans approve of Kevin McCarthy being elected Speaker of the House

Linley SandersData Journalist
January 12, 2023, 2:35 PM GMT+0

In a historic 15 rounds of voting last weekend, Republicans in Congress elected Kevin McCarthy as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Though the election process took several days, Republicans appear to be pleased with the result. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, nearly three times as many Republicans approve (59%) of McCarthy’s election as Speaker as disapprove (21%). Americans overall are split on McCarthy's newly elected role: 36% approve and 37% disapprove.

Though McCarthy only recently became Speaker of the House, 42% of Republicans approve of how he's handled the position so far. Just one in eight (12%) disapprove of how he's handling the role, and 46% are unsure. In McCarthy's previous role as Minority Leader of the House, Republicans were more likely to approve than disapprove of his handling of the job throughout his tenure.

Whether McCarthy will be able to serve effectively as the Speaker of the House over a longer period of time remains to be seen. One-quarter of Americans think McCarthy will manage to be productive in the job, while more (33%) say he will not. About two in five (42%) are unsure.

Republicans are more optimistic about McCarthy's potential to be an effective Speaker. By almost three to one (44% to 16%), Republicans say McCarthy will be able to serve effectively in the role. Just 19% of Democrats say the same, and 51% say he will not be effective in the job.

Americans are split on the perceived motive for the Republicans in Congress who initially blocked McCarthy's path to the speakership. More than one-third (38%) of Americans think they were driven by the opportunity to leverage their votes into more power for themselves. One-quarter say they were driven by serious concerns about McCarthy, and even fewer (7%) say that the holdouts were just trying to cause trouble. Republicans are split evenly on whether the individuals were motivated more by power (34%) or serious concerns about McCarthy (34%).

— Taylor Orth contributed to this article

See the toplines and crosstabs from the Economist/YouGov poll conducted on January 7 - 10, 2023 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens.

Methodology: Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to June 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (34% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Getty Images (Anna Moneymaker)