The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Sean Spicer and Stephen Bannon’s poll numbers are even worse than Trump’s

From left, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Pence, senior adviser Stephen K. Bannon, press secretary Sean Spicer and then-national security adviser Michael T. Flynn are seen in the White House on Jan. 28. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

President Trump's approval numbers have sunk faster than those of any president in the modern era.

The good news for him is that someone else in politics today has it worse. The bad news is that they are his top spokesman, Sean Spicer, and his top strategist, Stephen K. Bannon.

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that views of Spicer and Bannon continue to dim alongside Trump's. Although the two aren't nearly as well-known as the commander in chief, the people who do know them like them even less than America likes Trump.

Seven in 10 registered voters have heard enough of Spicer to form an opinion. And although 20 percent have a favorable opinion of him, 49 percent have an unfavorable one — nearly 2.5-to-1 negative.

Bannon's numbers are even worse; about 6 in 10 have heard of him, with just 11 percent having a favorable opinion and 45 percent having an unfavorable one. That's 4-to-1 negative.

The numbers for both men are slightly worse than they were in late February, when the poll tested them for the first time. Spicer at the time was at 18 percent to 40 percent, while Bannon was at 14 percent to 41 percent.

Sean Spicer's habit of moving on to the next question quickly (Video: Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post, Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Numbers for both suffer because they are much better-known to Democrats, who regard them by and large as boogeymen, and they are unloved even by some Republicans. More than 7 in 10 Democrats dislike both men. Republicans approve of Spicer just 48 percent to 18 percent and Bannon just 23 percent to 14 percent.

Bannon's numbers are notably worse than those of the last GOP presidential strategist Democrats loved to hate: Karl Rove. Rove's worst numbers in Gallup's polling were 19 percent favorable and 41 percent unfavorable, in 2006 when things were getting bleak for the George W. Bush administration. A Fox News Channel poll in 2007 had him at an 18 percent to 37 percent split.

Of course, neither Bannon nor Spicer is on a ballot. And neither seems to be all that worried about public perceptions of them. Spicer takes to the podium regularly to deliver Trump's message no matter how dodgy the facts behind it. And Bannon has done little to massage a public image that has “Saturday Night Live” regularly depicting him as the grim reaper.

But these are the two men not named Trump or Pence who are most often associated with the White House's public brand. And the fact that not even Republicans seem to have much regard for them suggests the White House has a PR problem.