June 10th, 2009
03:29 PM ET
5 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.


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soundoff (278 Responses)
  1. Davonroe

    Could not name a person, or would not name one? If the people polled are anything like my oldest friend, who is a Republican (I'm not), they would rather not have any of the people claiming to speak for the GOP, certainly not the 4 men pictured for this story.

    June 10, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. Tania

    So what else is new? we told you so

    June 10, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  3. jack

    A party of old white men with no new ideas...

    June 10, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. Jennifer

    Alexander Mooney – what stupid purpose did this lame excuse for journalism serve? Furthermore, Republican's do not need to moderate. I suggest you try to ask a wider sample of Republican's this question to get a true picture of how Republican's see the their party. It used to be journalists' took pride in having their readers constantly guessing as to which side of the political spectrum they fell. Not anymore! The love affair you moron's have with Obama is revolting and careful, your bias is showing!!!

    June 10, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. musician

    And the winner is..... Rush Limbaugh with 13% of the vote. That sounds about right to me. Let`s see, 13% of Republicans... who account for less than half of the voting population.... and he`s up there around 6% of the country. Are there really that many knuckleheads in America?

    June 10, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  6. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Tell us something we did'nt know. This party is pitiful; their rhetoric is hateful; I'm surprised they're still in existence. What is their purpose, besides cock-blocking everything Obama? It sure isn't "Country First", that theme lasted until Nov. 5th 2008, before it turned into the more comfortable: Every man for himself.

    June 10, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. sky

    The problem is that they need to change their image. I grew up believing that Republicans were different only in idea. That the president, no matter what party, was a good and honest person who cared about our country. I also believed that Andy Griffith was a real sheriff....but now....I really believe they are under-educated, dishonest hateful, greedy, religious zealots. Its just the truth for me now....they really need to step up to the plate and get their act together. I feel they hate anyone who is different. They are judgmental and preach about how government should stay out of our lives and at the same time try to use government to control peoples personal decisions.....George and Dick ruined the Republican party in the same way the religious right ruined religion.

    June 10, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  8. Grahame

    None of the obove. Must be Jon Voit..........

    Perhaps it's either David Duke or Sarah Palin

    June 10, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. lucy2

    Well, if that's not a sign of how bad things are for them, I don't know what is. 52% can't tell who's leading, and of the names that are mentioned, a radio host is leading a former VP and the last Presidential candidate? Wow.
    The desperately need to find new leadership, and head back to the true roots of the party. People would respond to those ideals of small government and fiscal responsibility. It is the extreme factions of the party that have gotten too much power and pushed everyone else away.

    June 10, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  10. Yusuf

    Speaking as an African American, it is impossible at this point to see myself ever joining a party or agreeing with a party that attracts so many negative people when it comes to the views of other cultures, like the GOP. I go to Fox News sometimes and I review their messages in the blogs and I see so many references on every article that deals with Obama to bananas and monkeys and watermelon. How can I ever support a party that attracts this anti anything of any other culture types of people? What some see as American traditions being destroyed or “the complete destruction of our country” as many GOPers are crying; I see the destruction of exclusion and a view that looks at all cultures around the world and say “how do I be a good citizen of this massive community?” With the shift in demographics in America to one with a more diverse culture of all colors, the GOP will have a long climb back to power if they cling to their more xenophobic and separatist brand of “conservatives”.

    June 10, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  11. Ralph

    Ouch. That sounds even worse than many of us on the left were probably hoping for. So, 33% of the party has an unfavorable view of their own party, and another 33% thinks that the GOP should not change its policies. Which, I would think, will further alienate that previous 33%. So, the GOP is looking at dropping their numbers down to <70% of where they are now. Didn't some recent poles indicate that only ~30% (maybe less) of the country considers themselves Republican? Drop that by a third and ....well, I think you know what I'm getting at.
    Bye Bye GOP. It's been fun (not really).

    June 10, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  12. Dennis

    How is this any different than where the Democrats were in 2005? Who was the spokesman for the party and obvious leader at that time?

    June 10, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  13. sandy

    Maybe they out to get real. We are not living in the "Reagan era" any longer. This is a new world in a new time. I am so sick and tired of hearing all th Republican's talk about Reagan. He's gone and so are his policies. This is a new world and they should be helping our President survive this new world instead of fighting him over everything. I am disgusted with hearing all the garbage that comes out of both Limbaugh and Gingriches mouths. I am ready to turn Democrat.

    June 10, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. Ruty

    At this time in my life I am ashamed to be a republican. I am almost 80 years old–never voted for a democrat until 2008. The republicans are acting like brats who don't get their way. I am ashamed I ever was one.

    June 10, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  15. nate

    Wow that should be a wake up call for the R .I am an independent who sometimes agree with them in the past but now they are acting like a circus with no new ideas or any smart contributions to the direction of the country.Agree or not with the democrat at least they are trying something ,plus 8 years of republicains rules brought us here in this mess.I will not vote for you untill you get your act togherter, stop unsulting the president with nonsense bring concrete ideas not budget no number or your crazy health plan. Obama is not the only one who have to save this country do your part or shut up.

    June 10, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  16. David

    Like communism, supply side economics is a failed economic model. Each time it has been tried, it has resulted in hardship for most Americans. Those third of Republicans, who think that the GOP should not change its policies, are like diehard communists who, in spite of all evidence, refuse to see that their economic model cannot work.

    The reality is that you cannot lower taxes without reducing the government’s spending FIRST. You cannot lower taxes and just hope for the best. You cannot hold up defense spending as if it were not government spending – just ask the Soviets about how that one worked out for them. You cannot support corporate and farm welfare while attacking other forms of welfare.

    The reality is that you cannot go around telling people how to behave in some cases while saying that government needs to get out of people's lives. That's called cognitive dissonance at best – blind hypocrisy at worse.

    I see no hope for the GOP as long as they are the anti-constitutional party. It is time for independents to form a strong constitutional based party and relegate the Christian-Trickle downers to the dustbin of history.

    June 10, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  17. Melissa

    The problem is that no one is telling people like Rush and Cheney to shut up. They are digging the party such a deep hole that the party is going to be lucky if it sees daylight ever again. And frankly Steele, who should be the only person speaking for the Republican party at the moment, is such a wimp he backs down whenever either of them shakes a finger at him.

    June 10, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. Ken

    The GOP just continues its Stalineque purge of moderates in the name of ideological purity. As long as the party leaders take their marching orders from the likes of El Rushbo and his flying monkeys, the GOP will only languish in irrelevance.

    These poll numbers will just get worse and worse as more people become disillusioned by a party whose ilk resorts to schoolyard insults, faux outrage, bumper sticker slogans in place of real policy, and a machoistic approach to foreign policy instead of putting forth thoughtful debate and leaders who understand that three quarters of America want nothing to do with the rabid far right.agenda.

    June 10, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. Grahame

    If you look at the picture you will see one obvious connection. All these men are Old, White, Full of hate and stupid.

    June 10, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. Polly

    All of the above serve as leaders.

    June 10, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  21. Disbelief

    This is one of my biggets pet peeves with the press , the need to live your whole life in a day. They are in a mad rush to annoint someone the leader of the republican party. This is an organic thing it will take some time. People will gravitate to the person with the best message and leadership skills. Give it time and lets enjoy the journey of seeing who that person will be.

    June 10, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    No second guess: Rush-Nwet-Cheney.

    June 10, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. Dennis

    The poll in this survey has no value to individual as I (an independent). How many of the 1015 polled individuals were Republican? You make statement such as 13% of the Republicans polled identified Rush Limbaugh as the voice for the party. Since you did not identify how many Republicans were polled, I can make the assumption maybe one hundred Republicans were polled, equating that 13 Republicans identifies Limbaugh as the party's voice. Article demonstrates that polls can show whatever one wants it to show based on one bias or party leaning(s).

    June 10, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  24. Fair is Fair

    Try asking the dems who speaks for their party. You'll get answers ranging from Pelosi, Reid, Rachel Madcow, Olberman, Matthews, and the "mouth of the south" Carville.

    June 10, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  25. Kelby In Houston, TX

    Everybody know that the de facto leader of the Republican party/ GOP/ Conservatives is Boss Limbaugh. We know this because republican elected officials bend to the will of Boss Limbaugh. They apologize when they say something that he does not approve of. They make their policies according to his liking and his words guide their decisions. Limbaugh articulates the GOP platform and the party moves according to his word.

    Many repuglicans think that this perception is some sort of political trickery by Liberals and Democrats. I can assure my conservative counterparts that it is not. We are simply calling it as we see it. And what we see is Limbaugh leading this party to complete destruction and total obscurity.

    June 10, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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