Among Liberals, Pelosi More Popular Than Congress
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to maintain solid job approval ratings throughout the nation, with 50 percent of adults approving of her performance in her first weeks of wielding the gavel.
According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, Pelosi's disapproval rating for her job performance is 31 percent, suggesting that Republican efforts at muddying the San Francisco Democrat's image have not been successful.
The rating places Pelosi in a much stronger political position than the last time the House flipped control. Twelve years ago, Republican Newt Gingrich of Georgia became speaker and instantly became a public lightning rod.
According to a Jan. 29, 1995 Post-ABC poll, Gingrich's approval rating was 40 percent while 48 percent of adults disapproved of his job performance four weeks into his tenure as speaker.
Pelosi, however, would be wise to look out for the political icebergs ahead. The overall approval of the Democratic majority in Congress is floundering at most levels -- particularly among the liberal base of the electorate that should be Pelosi's bedrock of support.
Asked whether they approve or disapprove of the 110th Congress, 41 percent of adults approved, while 54 percent disapproved. That number is up from before the election, when congressional job approval ratings were in the low 30s or upper 20s. The approval number is also similar to what the new Republican Congress garnered a dozen years ago.
Of those who self-identified as ideologically liberal in today's poll, the job approval rating for Congress was 49-46. Again, some of that could be left-over residue of anger at the 12-year reign of House Republicans. But it does reveal that the first seven weeks has not produced a sea change of popularity among liberals and their support for Congress.
But ideological liberals HAVE thrown their lot with Pelosi as an individual, giving her a 68-19 approve/disapprove rating among the group.
And moderate voters who tilted away from Bush, the Iraq war and congressional Republicans last fall -- who've yet to fully embrace the new Congress as a whole -- are in some cases are voicing a more than 2-to-1 approval of Madame Speaker.
Ideological moderates approve of her job performance 55-26, while self-identified independents support her work 45-34 so far.
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