June 10th, 2009
03:29 PM ET
9 years ago

Poll: Majority unsure who speaks for the GOP

Americans are unsure who speaks for the GOP, according to a new poll.

Americans are unsure who speaks for the GOP, according to a new poll.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As the Republican Party struggles to regain its footing following the November elections, a new survey shows that a majority of adult Americans sees no clear leader for the minority political party.

Even more problematic for the GOP is that one-third of Republicans hold an unfavorable view of their party, according to the USA Today/Gallup poll.

When it comes to naming a “main person” who speaks for the GOP, 52 percent of Americans were unable to do so.

Among those who did name a speaker for the GOP, 13 percent identified conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh, while 10 percent named former Vice President Dick Cheney. Arizona Sen. John McCain and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were each named by 6 percent of Americans in the poll.

Related Video: Gingrich takes center stage

Just 3 percent said former President George W. Bush is currently the most prominent Republican speaker, while Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and House Minority Leader John Boehner were each named by 1 percent of participants in the survey.

“These numbers are troubling for Republicans, who are engaged in a civil war right over the ideological direction of the party,” said CNN Political Editor Mark Preston. “When one-third of Republicans hold an unfavorable view of the party, it makes it difficult to establish a united front to promote GOP policies at the same time opposing President Obama’s agenda.”

A third of Republicans in the poll said the GOP should not moderate its policies in its quest to regain power.

The poll surveyed 1,015 adults on May 29-31 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: GOP • Popular Posts
soundoff (278 Responses)
  1. Brian

    It is not a problem that no one person speaks for any group. This poll is meaningless. Just another reason for the Obama loving media to throw up a headline about bad poll numbers from the other side. Wait till that 20% inflation comes knocking and see whose poll numbers head south.

    June 10, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. George

    Let's face it, the Republican Party is a party of old, elite, white Christian men. It's not a party that appeals to most of the country any more. What the Republicans need to do is to keep these old farts on the back burner and showcase the young (and not stupid, AKA Palin) Republicans who are more diverse. They are making themselves endangered by constantly showcasing Limbaugh, Gingrinch, Cheney, McCain, and Palin. They can also forget about Romney – the American public, especially Republicans, will not vote for a non-Christian president.

    So, they're really in a Catch-22. Keep the old brigade silent and let the young, diverse party speak or risk becoming extinct. Of course, to appeal to young, diverse populations, they have to become less conservative (alienating some of the extreme right) and more diverse (alienating the racist factions of the party) and running the risk of losing some supporters to gain more from the moderates/center.

    June 10, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. virginia feld

    I was a Republican for a long time..It is still a good party with good ideas.The four pictured, Limbaugh, McCain Gingritch and Cheney are obsolete and should hang it up and retire. New blood is needed before this party can get up and move on to new horizens.

    June 10, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. Dan, TX

    When the republicans come out against pay as you go, they are slapping conservatives in the face. They should be jumping on it and seeing how Obama's plans work in a PAYGO world. Instead, they are 1) making Obama the only fiscal conservative in Washington 2) Giving the democrats the cover to keep spending more.

    What the heck is wrong with the republican leadership?

    June 10, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. Alex

    Simply put, the GOP lacks leadership and message. It is clearly the party of “NO” that is viewed as non inclusive to the average American. Above all, the so-called leaders, such as: Newt, Dick, Steele, Palin, and lets not forget self propelled Rush.

    For me a one time Republican, I am appalled with the direction of the GOP. They’ve chosen some of the most uneducated and bias individuals in America. Until they find a resonating consistent message with incredible inclusive leadership, the GOP will continue to be a slippery slope or a falling knife.

    June 10, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. Chris Cantwell, Bradenton FL

    Ron Paul is our man!

    June 10, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. Melissa Baxter

    Know what they all have in common? Old, white guys.

    June 10, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. D. Philpott

    After 40 years as a Republican, I officially changed my Party affiliation to Libertarian. The reason? The Republican Party left me. They left their core values of financially responsible, free market conservatives and became a group of fanatical meglomaniacs! Cheney, Bush lied to the American people to satisfy their own agenda, and now we are involved in a war on two fronts that we should never have waged. Our Economy is a shambles and they are responsible. Limbaugh and Gingrich just throw tantrums in the Media. Not one Republican Politician today exhibits sensibility to the American cause, but instead relate everything to Party issues. That's hubris!

    June 10, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. Ron

    As long as the dialogue is "Attack the Dems and Obama" people are offended. Let's here some positive solutions and try to work together. All I see is specila interests scrapping over leftovers. I see a darwinian extinction in progress. They don't know how to change. So far it's bye bye dodo bird.

    June 10, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. Andy

    There's one thing that's certain...it's a distanced, out of touch, delusional, religious fanatic that is unable to provide the proper leadership and vision to right the path of our conservative party. The Bush administration deviated from traditional conservative principles on many fronts and injected christian principles and "moral" standards into the political debate that have no place in government and policy. McCain needs to reestablish his pre-2008 election conservative voice.

    June 10, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  11. Hotdog

    This is good because these guys are noting but hot air ballons. They want to continue the politics of division idealogy. Their view on issues will not work during this current time in politics. Time has change and these guys are out dated and the polls reflect just that.

    June 10, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. Boisepoet

    When your record as a party is abysmal, when your rhetoric is nothing but hyperbolic filled rants about 'socialism' and 'racist judges', when all you have to offer is 'no', when you publically hope the majority party fails in their attempt to solve problems affecting the country and working Americans, you are bound to be seen as irrelevant, obstructionist and generally 'unfavorable.

    Ideology and greed for power has apparently replaced intellectualism and desire for solutions within this ‘Republican’ party.

    June 10, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. william gair

    Don't forget to count those of us that gave up on the party and switched.

    June 10, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. Melissa Baxter

    Sorry – didn't see Steele on the list at first.

    June 10, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. J.Crobuzon

    Aw, we all know that RNC Chairman Limbaugh is the sneering, hateful voice of the Republican Party. He's also its piglike face.

    June 10, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. ysidero

    joe scarboro has a book out with some refreshing honest criticism of the past 8 years, and some new ideas for the future of conservatism. maybe joe should be the spokesman for the GOP – they couldnt do any worse than the cast of unfunny clowns mentioned in the poll results.

    until the republican party can shake off the pernicious influence of the belligerent neo-con hawks and the intrusive religious right it will never have credibility with the majority of the american electorate. its just too easy nowdays for people to stay informed, google the facts, and debunk their distortions and out and out lies.

    im not a republican, nor am i a hard line lib – i have voted for candidates from both parties. but, if i am ever to consider voting for a GOP candidate again the party needs a fresh start and some new ideas. economic models and tax policies which favor corporations and the wealthy, combined with extreme social conservatism and interference in peoples' private lives is a road map to oblivion for the GOP (and the nation, and informed americans know this).

    June 10, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  17. Weli ( York, Maine)

    It is so funny that some them named Rush Limbaugh as their speaker. It is sad, sad!

    June 10, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. KMAN

    Poll: Majority unsure who speaks for the GOP

    And furture more a HUGE majority simply doesn't give a rip about who speaks for the GOP since all they do is spew hate and divisiveness.

    June 10, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. sorensen

    Surprise, surprise!!
    With incompetant gasbags like Cheney, Limbaugh, Gingrich (he used
    to be the most intelligent republican ever, but has obviously totally lost
    his brain), Steele, etc. all trying to sell an ideology that is completely
    out of date, irrelevant to the younger generation and intellectually
    totally flawed.
    It will be years before the GOP will get any credibility back. And deservedly so.

    June 10, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. bob

    How about a look up for the definition of a "leader"? All of the talking heads for the Republicans are losers. Their only "accomplishments" are in their own minds. Why is it only about getting elected? The principals that made this country great are around us, but we have losers; in their personal lives, professional lives and political lives that can't lead. There are no virgins out there, but come on people, the political process in this country is really screwed up where we hear about the political crap 24/7. It's all about getting your voice heard with no clear mandate as to what the real issues are and more importantly, the solutions.

    June 10, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  21. Formerly Republican

    Clearly, the leaders of the Republican Party are Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. The GOP would have a lot to offer if it stopped trying to engage in policy making and focused on mooseburgers and sink unclogging.

    June 10, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. mikesmobile

    Yes, but...

    The article states that, "Even more problematic for the GOP is that one-third of Republicans hold an unfavorable view of their party..." That might be true, but I can promise you that that 1/3 all disagree with Obama's socialist agenda.

    What has Obama done differently than Bush? Reduced spending... Nope! (even if Obama fullfils his promise to reduce the deficit by half, it'll still be 4X's higher than when Bush left office) Ended the war in Iraq... Nope! (50K troops to remain in Iraq indefinitly). Decreased troop levels... Nope! (he has actually mimiced Bush's troop surge).

    Obama (et al) is bad for America... Period!

    June 10, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  23. Lori

    I just heard Bill Bennett say on CNN that while President Obama's job approval ratings are high (in the 60%s), his policies are not. Well, yeah. That's what happened to Bush and other personally popular Presidents. They're likeable (remember, when everyone wanted to have a beer with Bush) but their policies aren't as popular and that in no way means political defeat. The idiot Bush got so-called 're-elected'. People generally vote on your OVERALL JOB RATING, not on one particular part (deficit spending) of a greater issue (the economy). By the way, BO still has a 55% approval rating on his handling of the economy in that poll). It's the overall job approval rating that counts. I just needed to get that off my chest, Mr. Bennett. Phew!

    June 10, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  24. marla

    And why does America cares about that.. Oh I see only the 5% rich people group who pays big bucks to attend the republican campaign
    events do, because they want this bunch of clowns to save their illgotten wealth from being given back the rightfull people who own them.
    Hey didn't CNN reported that they earn 14 million dollars in one benifit gala alone, the richs' must be getting desperate. But who would listen to the bunch of lies they are planning against the democrat if the majority who consist of ordinary American people, cannot afford to pay for cable internet connection or least buy radio or newspaper anymore so they can listen to them.

    June 10, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  25. Kit in LA

    Time to wake up and "smell the coffee". The November elections last year send a LOUD and CLEAR message to the GOP: Americans are sick of your way of running the country. Bush and his party drove the country off the cliff and we're all suffering for it now. It will take a very long time for anyone to take these guys seriously again.

    June 10, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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