Partisan favorability of Pelosi and McConnell eroding

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
September 21, 2020, 7:06 PM UTC

In polling taken ahead of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has seen his popularity slip among those in his party, with roughly half (52%) of Republicans holding a favorable opinion of the Kentucky senator, a four-point drop from January.  

The latest Economist / YouGov Poll shows about a quarter (24%) of the US overall have favorable opinion of McConnell, a four-point decrease from January, while he remains steadily unpopular among Democrats, with eight percent holding a favorable opinion. 

Eyes will be on McConnell and the Senate this week as the GOP plans to make good on President Donald Trump’s vow to quickly fill the vacancy left by the late Ginsburg, the progressive cultural icon who died on Friday at 87. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s popularity has also been dropping, particularity among those in her own party. 

Data shows the percentage of Democrats who have a favorable opinion of the California representative has dropped by 10 points to 66 percent. Among US adults overall, roughly a third (34%) have a favorable opinion of Pelosi, also marking a five-point decrease from the beginning of the year. Her favorability among Republicans is steadily low at 10 percent. 

Also, there is still a glimmer of hope a stimulus bill will be passed after bitter partisan divides on the size of second COVID-19 relief package left Republicans and Democrats at an impasse earlier in September. In the latest developments, President Trump last week dismissed the GOP’s tactics and urged them to “go for much higher numbers.” 

The stimulus logjam has had little effect on the public’s favorability of Congress, as it’s already so low. Just 15 percent of Americans hold a favorable opinion of Congress, which is roughly in line with figures at the beginning of 2020. Congress appeared to gain some good will from the American public following the initial pandemic stimulus bill in March with favorables reaching 26 percent, but that figure slid down to regular lows in the weeks following. 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll  

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between September 13 - 15, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.4% for the overall sample. 

Image: Getty