November 16th, 2010
11:32 AM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Democrats divided on Pelosi as party's House leader

Washington (CNN) - Democrats across the country are split over whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi should remain party leader in the House of Representatives next year, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday also indicates that among all Americans, the current House speaker remains an unpopular figure while House Republican leader John Boehner, who will succeed Pelosi as speaker in the new Congress, is still not well known to many Americans.

See the full results after the jump:

Full results (pdf)

Forty-five percent of Democrats questioned in the survey say they would prefer Pelosi to serve as House minority leader, with 47 percent saying they would prefer another Democratic member in the House.

"Whatever divides the Democratic party on that question, gender and ideology seem to have nothing to do with it," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "There are no differences between Democratic men and Democratic women on whether Pelosi should continue to lead the House Democrats, nor is there a major difference between liberal Democrats and Democrats who call themselves moderates or conservatives."

The Republicans won back at least 60 House seats in this month's midterm elections (six races remain unresolved) and come January, will control the chamber for the first time in four years. With the Democrats going from the majority to minority party, they lose the House speaker position to the Republicans. Pelosi, who became a major target of Republicans in the midterms, is now running to serve as minority leader, a move that has triggered some opposition by moderate and conservative Democrats.

According to the poll, one third of all Americans have a favorable opinion of Pelosi, with 52 percent saying they hold an unfavorable opinion, and 15 percent unsure.

Thirty percent of Americans have a favorable view of the incoming House speaker, with 22 percent saying they have an unfavorable view of Boehner and 48 percent saying they have never heard of the congressman from Ohio or don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

"That's par for the course for incoming House Speakers," says Holland. "In November, 1994, 46 percent had no opinion of Newt Gingrich and in November, 2006, 42 percent were unfamiliar with Pelosi. But if Boehner follows their paths, he may never be well-liked. Neither Gingrich nor Pelosi every have had a favorable rating over 50 percent."

The poll indicates that most Americans are not familiar with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Twenty-six percent say they say have a favorable view of the Republican senator from Kentucky, with 23 percent saying they hold an unfavorable view and 51 percent unsure.

The public is more familiar with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, with only 37 percent unsure about the Democrat from Nevada, who just survived a tough re-election challenge in this year's election. Twenty-eight percent say they see Reid in a favorable way, with 35 percent saying they hold an unfavorable opinion.

The survey's release comes on the same day that Senate Democrats and Republicans vote on their leadership, and comes one day before House Democrats and Republicans vote on their leadership.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted November 11-14, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Check out CNN's new Polling Center, which provides the most comprehensive polling data of any news organization in the political landscape.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: CNN Polls • John Boehner • Nancy Pelosi • Polls
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Roan

    Either way we will be saving major $$ off the budget since the will not have to fly the Queen of Mean and her family back and forth to CA every weekend. A buddy of mine in the Air Force told me they threw a party after the election as they would not have to deal with her obnoxious a$$ every weekend.

    November 16, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. Reynardine Greencastle

    I really think that after two years of Speakership by John Boehner, Congresswoman Pelosi will look more devilishly good than a Keebler cookie.

    November 16, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Steve (the real one)

    The most effective Speaker ever, and people hate that, that's why the want her out. She's not arrogant, just strong and thats' why the Repugs want her out. They can't handle a strong and powerful woman.
    Repugs want her out? Really??
    1. The GOP don't get a vote here
    2. And most importantly, the name of this article is: DEMOCRATS divided on Pelosi as party's House leader. The key word is DEMOCRATS. approx. half of DEMOCRATS want her out! Come January she is out as speaker. It is up to the DEMS if she is STILL their leader! Put her in there if you want, just be aware it is more fodder come 2012!

    November 16, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  4. Peter s

    Mama Pelosi you have done good job, you have served your people with dedication! however, if your name will be a distraction in the party just get out of the way and History will vindicate you.

    November 16, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. November 2012

    Definitely Nancy should remain as House Minority Leader. Why get rid of her? Wouldn't that just be an insult to all she has accomplished?

    November 16, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. Jen Randle MO

    Keep going Nancy; they are threatened by you because you stand up to them and get stuff done! Unlike the empty-headed GOP females in their cutsey little tailored red suits, you make things happen rather than just flapping your jaws. Get a spine, GOP, it's not a popularity contest!

    November 16, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats had a real chance to show their mettle when they had a chance to seek articles of impeachment on Bush & Cheney. It may have been blocked, and most certainly would have been, but they would have showed the American people that the Democrats will not be bullied by the GOP.

    November 16, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. Jen Randle MO

    Whoops, I meant to say, "get a spine Dems", not GOP! One thing the GOP does have is a spine; I'll give them that.

    November 16, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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