There were ample questions surrounding Kevin McCarthy in the wake of his tumultuous start as Speaker of the House.
His party had just barely captured a majority of U.S. House seats in an election Republicans were widely anticipated to dominate and, before taking the gavel, faced a record 15 rounds of voting to sway far-right members of his party blocking his nomination.
That lack of control over his party, his willingness to concede to far-right members for their support, and a series of hardline policies designed to combat the policies of the Biden administration apparently did him few favors: by the start of the current Congress, two top pollsters—Marquette University and Quinnipiac University—pegged McCarthy’s net favorability in January at a more than 20-point deficit, with most polls in the ensuing weeks showing his unfavorable rating nearly as high as those of a relatively unpopular president of the United States.
U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol on May 17, 2023, in Washington, D.C. McCarthy and a bicameral group of Republican members of Congress held the press conference to address the current impasse over raising the nation’s debt limit.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Still, McCarthy was optimistic, even with doubt surrounding his future: “My father always told me: It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” McCarthy tweeted shortly after receiving the gavel. “And now we need to finish strong for the American people.”
Now nearly half a year into his first term with the gavel, McCarthy’s fortunes appear to be changing.
After clocking in at just a 32-point approval rating in February polling from the Economist/YouGov, in its most recent poll, the Economist/YouGov found McCarthy’s approval rating had climbed by 14 points since its first poll, while his February disapproval rating of 37 percent had actually declined by one point—a sign more people were discovering who he was and approved of his performance.
In a previous YouGov/Economist poll taken shortly after November’s disappointing election performance, just 39 percent of Republicans said McCarthy should remain a leader in the House, while a slim majority, 51 percent, either said they didn’t know or didn’t care. Today, fewer than one-quarter of Americans have no opinion of McCarthy’s performance.
Broken down by party, the improvement is even more jarring: while his approval sat at 56 percent among members of his own party in the February YouGov poll, the latest figures show McCarthy’s approval rating among members of his own party at roughly 66 percent, a 10-point swing.
However, among Democrats, McCarthy’s favorability between the two polls has actually improved by approximately a dozen points, though his job approval rating among independents has risen by just 7 points from February’s paltry 22 percent.
W/ @SpeakerMcCarthy, @HouseGOP has passed:
✅HR 1: Makes it easier to produce energy + build infrastructure
✅HR 2: Strongest border security package to ever pass Floor
✅HR 5: Protects kids + gives parents a voice
That’s just a few. I expect this number to keep trending up.📈 https://t.co/AyGeEXRwBr
— Brittany Martinez (@_Britt_Martinez) May 17, 2023
Job approval, however, is different than one’s favorability rating. While McCarthy’s job approval is currently at a +10 rating, his overall favorability rating—at 40 percent—is just four points higher than his disapproval rating, and still six points below the all-time high set by his predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, in an August 2020 YouGov/Economist poll.
That might just be a matter of name recognition, however; while McCarthy’s favorability rating is lower, Pelosi’s all-time high was still eclipsed by a high disapproval rating, leaving her three points underwater with the public. While McCarthy’s net favorability rating sits at a little over -1 in aggregations by RealClearPolitics, Pelosi’s was nearly -20.
Source : Newsweek