Conservatives have spent more than a decade demonizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, while Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has mostly gotten a pass. Part of that is our lack of a truly partisan liberal media network. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and all their endless offspring can hammer Pelosi relentlessly, but on the left? Daily Kos, a few Facebook memes, and some MSNBC shows are all we have.
Yet despite all that, would you believe that Nancy Pelosi is far more popular than Mitch McConnell?
Pelosi is a net 18 points more popular than McConnell. That disparity is driven in huge part by a massive gender gap—40 points among women!
Pelosi is +69 among Democrats, and McConnell is only +45 among Republicans, showing that Democrats are far more united around their leader than the opposition is. Frankly, that is shocking, given how McConnell is singularly responsible for the conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Yet he consistently plays the role of villain for conservative wackos. Meanwhile, Pelosi has a 7-point advantage among independents, who mostly hate both of them.
McConnell has comically bad numbers among young voters, at -49 among 18-34 year olds. Pelosi looks wildly popular in comparison, at -9 net favorabilities. In fact, Pelosi is more popular in every age group, including seniors.
And you know what’s crazy? McConnell is close to his all-time high favorabilities!
His numbers go up during partisan movements as Republicans rally in support (during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh and during impeachment, most notably). He’s now fading as voters sour on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, claiming that there’s no urgency to do anything (a dynamic that’s particularly startling among independents).
Meanwhile, Pelosi has benefitted most from two major successes—taking control of the House in 2018 (when Republicans put her in pretty much every ad they ran that cycle), and impeachment:
Pelosi even got a little bump after she tore up impeached president Donald Trump’s speech at this year’s State of the Union address.
Republican efforts to paint Pelosi as the nation’s worst villain have failed. See this 2018 ad by the National Republican Campaign Committee in a Houston-area congressional district:
The ad ominously claimed, “[Democratic nominee Lizzie Fletcher] wants to fit in with Nancy Pelosi and her liberal agenda. That’s not Texas. Neither is Lizzie Fletcher.”
Fletcher ousted 18-year incumbent John Culberson by five points. So either 1.) Nancy Pelosi’s liberal agenda is Texas, or 2.) no one gave much of a shit about Nancy Pelosi. And that story was repeated all over the country as Democrats gained 41 seats in their massive wave victory.
As much as we despair over the state of our nation (Trump’s approval ratings should be 12% or lower), there are bright spots. The fact that the entire might of the conservative right-wing media machine has been unable to drag Pelosi down is one of them. The fact that McConnell is as unpopular as he is, despite a lack of liberal mass media, is another.
Sometimes, people do pay attention, and make the right choices. And thinking McConnell is a piece of shit is, undoubtedly, the right choice.