Three in four Democrats approve of Nancy Pelosi’s job as Speaker of the House
Democratic women in Congress, dressed in white to honor the women who demanded the right to vote a century ago, were highly visible during President Trump’s State of the Union Address Tuesday night. Four of those women already have announced their candidacies to face him in 2020. According to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, while Democrats disapprove of how Donald Trump is handling his job, most expect him to run for re-election. Only one in four Democrats say it’s likely the President won’t run.
Democratic women aren’t only visible in the House and Senate this year. Six in ten respondents in this poll who describe themselves as Democrats are women. Those voters will be important in determining their party’s nominee. Which announced candidates – male and female -- do women Democrats like the most?
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and California Senator Kamala Harris are the most well-known and the most liked, followed by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Democratic women are less likely than men to have an opinion about each of these candidates, but the ordering of likes is similar.
It’s notable that one female candidate, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the least well-known of the women running, is the only Democrat who is more disliked than liked. This is true both among women Democrats and Democrats in general. Gabbard’s campaign had a rough start, and opinion of her among all Democrats dropped in the last week. One week ago, 22% of Democrats had a favorable opinion of Gabbard and 16% were unfavorable. This week the percentages are almost the reverse.
Two announced candidates, Harris and Booker, are African-American. Black Democrats like both of them, though Harris is marginally better known. Approaching half (48%) of black Democrats have a favorable opinion of Harris, while 12% are unfavorable; 47% have a favorable opinion of Booker, and just 6% are unfavorable.
There is one Democrat who is even more popular within the party than any of the announced candidates. It’s not Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is considering another run for the Presidency. Sanders' popularity among Democrats has declined recently. Last week, 71% of Democrats had a favorable opinion of Sanders, this week just 65% do.
Sanders’ tax proposal of a 77% tax on estates over $1 billion isn’t as popular with Americans overall as the “wealth tax” on people whose net worth exceeds $50 million proposed by Warren, or a tax bracket of 70% for income about $10 million proposed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, though Democrats overwhelmingly like all these proposals. The wealth tax is especially popular overall: 51% of the public in this poll support it, including nearly half of Republicans. Just 44% favor Sanders’ proposal and 31% oppose it.
Currently, the most popular politician among Democrats is another woman, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Her popularity has risen since the beginning of the year. She is just as popular now with Democratic men as with Democratic women.
As with their evaluation of the announced candidates, fewer women than men express opinions of Pelosi.
When it comes to how she is doing her job as House Speaker, 75% of Democrats approve and only 12% disapprove. In contrast, Chuck Schumer has a 62% approval rating from Democrats, but both Pelosi and Schumer score better with their own partisans than do their GOP counterparts, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The public overall is more likely to disapprove than approve of how the Congressional leaders are handling their jobs.