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.

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soundoff (278 Responses)
  1. mac

    The picture accompanying this article says it all...

    "Old Men in Suits"

    The 21st century is leaving them behind.

    June 10, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  2. Retired Army in San Antonio

    Who speaks for the GOP?

    No one......and every one!

    That's what happens when a group lacks leadership.........every knucklehead tries to get his/her 2 cents in and all you end up with is a lot of noise but no clear message!

    Get Well Soon, GOP.......

    June 10, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  3. Skyview

    The so-called leaders of the Republican Party are interested only in publicity for themselves. They create controversy for the sole purpose of writing a book, which they then sell to the 20 million or so die-hard followers. That is why these leaders are not interested in broadeining the party; winning elections is not their aim, selling books is. Limbaugh's 13-20 Million is all he needs to maintain his 450 Million dollar cotract; just ask Joe Scarbrough.

    June 10, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  4. Nick

    Unsure of who speaks for the GOP? That's simple...
    In no particular order:
    McCain (dad and daughter)
    did I forget anybody?

    June 10, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  5. Once a GOP member, now an Obama Supporter

    GOP: All white males. And you wonder why their party got destroyed during the election. No diversity, no ideas and no empathy for the poor and less fortunate in our society. They talk outwardly like christian conservatives, just as I am a democratic conservative that believe in Jesus Christ, but their actions from their heart is telling me something else. That's why I switched parties. The GOP is not color blind...they act like they are, but really there not.

    All I see and hear is hate against the President. You know President Obama did not reck this economy...his policies both internally and externally did not destroy America's credibility.

    Just do your research and learn what happened over the decades and how this economy eventually would go down the drain.

    Moreover, because of the total mess the last administration left and the policies tha help drive this nation down the drain, President Obama - HAD TO TAKE EXTREME measures to stop the bleeding. I know that It will take a FEW YEARS for this enconomy to recover. So stop blaming the President Obama for everything in society.

    June 10, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  6. reuel

    The headline does not support th content of this piece. Of course they have no clear leader, they just got a big smack-down. It is the same as the Dems after the 1994 smack-down. The American voter will and has punished both parties in the past. Im waiting for the day they send a message to both parties and elect a good strong third party that keeps them both honest. Now that would be change.

    June 10, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  7. Dave Mishem

    You have a headline claiming that no one is sure who speaks for the Republicans. Then you have a photo right below which shows 4 middle aged white men. Last time I checked the leader of the GOP was black. I think that might be the problem right there. This party just doesn't want to be led by a black male.

    June 10, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. Sharon Kitchen

    None of the people mentioned should be a "leader".....they are not.
    Gov Charlie Crist of Florida would have been a good one for the slot.

    The GOP needs to spend this time finding themselves.

    June 10, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  9. in the middle

    Republicans have to start over. The people representing there party are just not good at all. FOX NEWS, Hannity, Rush are bad for the Republicans.

    June 10, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  10. Deb

    The party of NO...no ideas, no recognition, no clue!

    June 10, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  11. Vince

    This poll is idiotic. Whichever party holds the presidency, that president is automatically the speaker for their party. The party that is out of power won't have a main speaker until their party selects one in the next presidential primary.

    Why wasn't CNN doing these polls when Bush was President and Democrats had yet to select their presidential candidate? Because the same number would come up divided between Harry, Nancy, Hillary, Obama, MoveOn.org, etc.

    Stupid poll.

    June 10, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. Liberty

    As a former GOPer I would like to see a strong Libertarian party come out of this mess. Then the current GOP can become the US version of the Taliban imposing their religious views on the rest of the country and fade into obscurity.

    For a party that used to espouse freedoms and civil liberties they sure are quick to tell you when you have strayed from the religious right.

    June 10, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. Clint, Wa.

    If it where a game of poker, I would fold my hand.

    June 10, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  14. David

    This poll is hardly surprising. The fact that there isn't a clear leader is painfully obvious.

    What is really sad is that a third of Republicans say they should not moderate their policies. This will spell the demise of the party. I will find it very hard to consider voting Republican as long as the extreme right ultra conservative zealots have a strangle hold on the party. Most of the country is in the middle. The party will be in trouble until they figure that out and embrace it in both words and deeds.

    June 10, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  15. Ryan J in Iowa

    Never polled me. Everybody I talk to are very concerned that the current Administration for blowing massive amounts of money on short term jobs which are still not materializing. In about 10 months you will see the Democrats starting to campaign because they know their plan is not working. No worries, Conservatives will come in and clean up their massive mess they created for no reason other then to get elected.

    June 10, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  16. Stephanie

    One thing's for sure: Whoever's leading it is a complete idiot.

    (And I love how they're all ancient white men! Perfect view of what the party is... and always will be.)

    June 10, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  17. dan in Tucson

    What a picture. Old white men (OWM). That says it all right there. They do not want or have the ability to speak for America anymore. They just don't get it, and that is the GOP's problem. Every time these OWM speak they put their foot in their mouth. The GOP, if they want to survive, needs to retire these people and seek a younger more connected group who the public can relate to.
    Every time the OWM speak it comes through as hate or sour grapes and that is what the people are hearing. Isn't this obvious?

    June 10, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. Obama 2.0

    Unfortunatly for the GOP they all speak for the GOP ;(

    June 10, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  19. Keith Sterner

    I sure would like to here from one of these poles. What do they do ask all Democrats the questions. And of course all will beleive exactly what you print. NOT

    June 10, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  20. Lori

    And yet the Republicans believe that they're on a so-called 'comeback' because of 1 conservative leaning Rasmussen poll (out of the other 99% of polls that has them at a huge deficit compared to the Democrats). I even heard that nutjob, Pat Robertson quote Rasmussen today. I'll take the majority of the other polls over 1 lonely Rasmussen poll anyday. If the Republicans don't even like their own party then can you imagine how many Democrats and Independents don't like their party either. But I digress... A GOP politicans job isn't only to attack, you are paid by the American people to come up alternative policies (and don't masquerade the old, unsuccessful ones as new ones either) and if you don't have alternatives, then don't expect to be voted into the majority ever again. RIP GOP! RIP!

    June 10, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  21. Craig- Easton, PA

    An obvious and intresting question that you never answered for us was whether the 1/3 of disgruntled Republicans was the same 1/3 that did not want the GOP to moderate, or were they the ones that did. Any chance you might enlighten us?

    June 10, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  22. Anon

    That photograph says a lot. It says "This is the party of rich, old white guys who say "no" to pretty much everything, without offering anything innovative." It's no wonder that so many members are finding little to identify with.

    June 10, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  23. Darren

    The republican party is the party of old and rednecked folk that is due to fade away. Political parties that are based on religious extremism whether in the US or the middle east must not survive.

    Republicans are strong right wing religious extremists that cannot help world peace or the USA.

    Only a party that is open to peace and dialogue across the world instead of military bravado and "end times talk" is good for the USA.

    June 10, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  24. John-Black Hills/SD

    I feel sorry for the republicans who don't see the cast of buffoons, who are pictured above, to be speaking for them. The current GOP is made up of philosophies that worked in the last century, not today.
    It's time to stop behaving like spoiled children, stop playing the holy roller card, admit your past faux pas, and the real world will slip right back under your feet. I wouldn't buy a used car from any one of the four pictured above...isn't that creepy.

    June 10, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  25. nancy carson

    Republicans need a more moderate voice. The "Far Right" carries much too much weight in the party. I consider myself a moderate–I agree with many conservative values, but I also hold many views and beliefs that cannot align with the arch conservative agenda. I would very much like to see Mr. Gingrich or Romney take more leadership in the party. I am repelled as much by the radical right as by the radical left. Both leave me cold as I wonder if they consider the American people or just their political agendas. I think we know which it is.

    June 10, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
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