The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Do Democrats want Nancy Pelosi as speaker again? Poll finds more prefer ‘someone else.’

After pushing off questions about Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi until after the election, many non-incumbent Democrats are still dodging questions about her. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

There is no love lost for Nancy Pelosi, even among Democrats.

As Rep. Pelosi (D-Calif.) spends the week back on Capitol Hill trying to persuade her colleagues to give her another run at House speaker, fewer than one-quarter of self-identified Democrats — 23 percent — say their party’s lawmakers should pick her, while a larger 36 percent say they should choose “someone else” and a 41 percent plurality have no opinion, according to a new poll released Wednesday by Monmouth University.

Support for the current House minority leader becoming speaker dips further to 17 percent among the public overall, factoring in Republicans and independents.

It’s not surprising that Republicans would have an unfavorable opinion of the longtime Democratic leader. For many years they’ve vilified her as the personification of a liberal agenda. But Pelosi doesn’t garner rave ratings from Democrats either.

Just under 3 in 10 Democrats approve of Pelosi’s job performance as the party’s minority leader in the House, 29 percent, higher than the 16 percent who disapprove but dwarfed by a 55 percent majority who say they have no opinion of her efforts. Republicans are more decisive in their feelings about her, with 72 percent disapproving, 5 percent approving and 23 percent with no opinion.

While Pelosi seems likely to be elected speaker by her peers, it won’t be without considerable pushback within the Democratic caucus. Of all the 53 newly elected Democrats, just seven have said they will definitely vote for her, according to an analysis by The Fix.

While Republicans sought to make Pelosi’s potential return to the helm a liability for Democrats running for Congress this year, a Washington Post-Schar School Election Day poll of battleground congressional districts found she barely registered on the list of top issues for voters in battleground states. A scant 7 percent of voters said Pelosi was one of the top two issues in their vote for Congress, trailing well behind Trump and health care as well as several other issues.

The new Monmouth poll, conducted Nov. 9 to 12 among a random national sample of 802 adults and carrying an error margin of plus or minus 3.5 points, finds substantial support for Congress “keeping President Trump in check.” Just about half of Americans overall say this should be a “major priority,” 52 percent, while another 20 percent say it should be a minor priority and 25 percent say it should not be a priority. But a much smaller 36 percent say he should be “impeached and be compelled to leave the presidency” compared to 59 percent who say he should not.

Support for impeaching Trump is largely limited to Democrats: 5 percent of Republicans say he should be forced out while 26 percent of independents say the same, but a 70 percent majority of Democrats support doing so. That is slightly higher than the 64 percent of Democratic voters in battleground districts who said Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, according to the Post-Schar School poll released on Election Day.

Trump’s approval rating stands at 43 percent in the Monmouth poll with 49 percent disapproving, largely unchanged from August. The current result is slightly better for Trump than Gallup’s weekly tracking poll, which finds Trump with 38 percent job approval, down from a recent high-point of 44 percent a month ago.