By Eli Yokley
January 9, 2023 at 3:27 pm ET
California Republican Kevin McCarthy’s ascent to the speakership has dragged down his popularity as he’s been introduced in recent weeks to a larger swath of the electorate, but Morning Consult tracking surveys show the latest tumult has yet to weigh on perceptions of the wider Republican membership on Capitol Hill.
The Jan. 5-8 survey, conducted as the House narrowly elected McCarthy speaker after days of a messy and highly public airing of grievances by conservative detractors, shows Washington’s top Republican is a fairly divisive figure among the party’s base, though he is more popular than the other chamber’s leading Republican, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
McCarthy’s middling popularity leaves little public incentive for Republican lawmakers who hail from safe districts to stand by him should he cross them, and the lack of awareness from roughly a quarter of the party’s base leaves ample opportunity for his detractors to define him in a negative light.
While the long-term impact of public opinion on McCarthy’s speakership will come into fuller view as he engages in what’s expected to be a fierce fight over raising the debt limit later this year, the latest survey does reveal that last week’s episode on the House floor did seep into the public’s consciousness — to poor effect.
The latest Morning Consult survey was conducted Jan. 5-8, 2023, among a representative sample of 1,977 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.