45% of Republicans disapprove Mitch McConnell's performance as the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate
If Americans were asked whether or not Congress deserves a vacation, they’d probably loudly say “No!” This week’s Economist/YouGov Poll shows Congress’s approval rating at just 12%. Republican approval rating for the legislative branch is higher – a resounding 24%. Half of Republicans, members of the party that controls both houses of Congress, disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job.
This is not the lowest rating for Congress: throughout this year, approval has fluctuated between 10% and 12%. At the beginning of the Trump Administration, more Republicans approved than disapproved of Congress. That seems a long time ago.
Dissatisfaction with Congress is about its performance: 41% say Congress has accomplished even less than it usually does, and only 8% say it has done more. Though many Republicans believe it has done what’s typical at this point in a Congressional term, they remain dissatisfied: twice as many Republicans say Congress has accomplished less than usual as think t has accomplished more.
The GOP distress is clear when Republicans are asked to evaluate those in their own party – both in the Congress as a whole, and in the Congressional leadership. Although Democrats are not all happy with their own representation (and there has been talks of a challenge to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi), they have more positive feelings about their leaders than Republicans do.
Republicans have a favorable view of Republicans in Congress, but even more Democrats have a favorable opinion of their representatives. Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to be unfavorable.
But the difference between the parties is even more clear when the rank and file is asked to evaluate Congressional leadership, especially the Senate leadership. In the House, Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi get similar ratings when their partisans are asked whether they approve or disapprove of their performances. They also each get as much support for keeping their job as leader as there is support for replacing each of them with an unnamed “someone else.”
For Ryan, support or opposition to his remaining as Speaker is partly ideological. Republicans who describe themselves as “very conservative” want someone else by a margin of 18 points: 24% say Ryan should stay, 42% want him replaced. There is a small gender difference, with GOP women slightly less likely than GOP men to want Ryan to remain.
Democrats don’t have that type of ideological split. Nor is there a real gender or age divide. Blacks support Pelosi about two to one; whites are closely divided. 35% of whites would replace her, 30% would not.
The Senate is another story. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has struggled with his approval ratings for a long time. Republicans are more likely to disapprove of how he is handling his job than they are to approve. Nearly half would swap him for another Republican leader. Democrats, on the other hand, are quite happy with the performance of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. They would keep him.
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