There's mixed approval of new House Speaker Mike Johnson, whom Americans see as conservative

Carl BialikU.S. Politics Editor and Vice President of Data Science
David MontgomerySenior data journalist
November 02, 2023, 6:54 PM GMT+0

Americans are divided over new House Speaker Mike Johnson, with about as many approving as disapproving of the Louisiana Republican's election. But Republicans are strongly in favor of Johnson's election, following the weeks-long standoff in October when House Republicans couldn't coalesce around a Speaker candidate.

That October standoff was provoked when the House voted to remove former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, an action that Americans are still split on: 32% strongly or somewhat approve and 34% disapprove. Democrats, Independents, and Republicans all are split over McCarthy's removal.

A majority of Republicans approve of electing Johnson (63%), including ones who approve (82%) or disapprove (72%) of McCarthy's removal. (Most of the Republicans who are unsure about McCarthy's removal also are unsure about Johnson's election.) Among Democrats and Independents, those who oppose McCarthy's removal are much more likely to disapprove of Johnson than are those who support McCarthy's removal.

Americans of all political leanings are likely to say Johnson's politics are quite conservative, with 50% saying he's either "conservative" or "very conservative." That compares to 37% who say the same about Kevin McCarthy.

Democrats are much more likely to say Johnson is "very conservative" (42%) than are American adults as a whole (31%). Democrats are also more likely to describe McCarthy as "conservative" or "very conservative." Republicans are more likely to describe McCarthy as either moderate or liberal (39%) than are U.S. adult citizens as a whole (29%).

— Taylor Orth contributed to this article

See the toplines and crosstabs from the Economist/YouGov poll conducted on October 28 - 31, 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 November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Getty (Win McNamee)