GOP Tactic of Maligning Pelosi Failing

Republicans have been up on the air in a number of congressional districts around the country trying to paint Democratic canididates as excessively liberal and too close of allies of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi -- a San Francisco liberal. Leaving aside the fact that being labeled a "Democrat" in this political environment would probably help, more than hurt most candidates, new polling from Quinnipiac University finds that Pelosi is largely unknown by the electorate.

The Quinnipiac survey shows that a 53 percent majority of Americans aren't familiar enough with Pelosi to form an opinion about her, the same amount as are unfamiliar with Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist. Close to two-thirds of Americans (65 percent) don't know much about Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid while no numbers were available for either House Speaker Denny Hastert or House Republican Leader John Boehner.

None of the three congressional leaders polled has a particularly high ratings, which jibes with Americans general unhappiness with Congress as a whole. On a favorability scale from 1 to 100, Pelosi scored an average of 34.7, Reid averages 37.9, and Frist averages 45.5.

These numbers indicate that although House Republicans believe they can hold on to power by scaring voters with the prospect of a Pelosi Speakership, this ikely will not be a successful tactic. Yes, such a move has worked more or less in the past; President Clinton was able to run against Newt Gingrich quite deftly during the 1998 midterms as Democrats made history by netting a five-seat increase in the House. But Gingrich in 1998 was significantly more well-known and disliked that Pelosi is today. A Harris poll from that summer found that 92 percent of Americans knew enough about Gingrich to form an opinion about him, with 28 percent of Americans viewing him favorably and a whopping 64 percent of Americans viewing him unfavorably. When asked a similar question about Pelosi this spring by The Hotline (.pdf), Pelosi's favorables are 33 percent while her unfavorables are 8 percent. Simply put, Nancy Pelosi is no Newt Gingrich and the Republican strategy of tying Democratic congressional candidates in key races to her will not succeed.

Tags: House 2006, Nancy Pelosi (all tags)

Comments

13 Comments

Re: GOP Tactic of Maligning Pelosi Failing

The word 'liberal' isn't the negitive that it used to be. The battles of the sixties are long over, most voters are too young to relate to them and so the old 'L' word is becoming just another word. But, the Bushites are running the risk of tarring the word 'conservative' for several decades.

by herbal tee 2006-09-05 06:32PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Tactic of Maligning Pelosi Failing

From the standpoint of good government, this is a problem.  The public should know more about the congressional leaders.  Gingrich has a, well, interesting personality and was able to break through the media wall of silence regarding Congress.

Pelosi is House Minority Leader and is therefore particularly unknown.  The Democrats would not have been able to run against Gingrich, or Bob Michel, in 1994.  However, look out for Pelosi to be demonized if she does become Speaker, and impeachment becomes an issue.  This could well be a problem in a year or two.

by Michels 2006-09-05 07:02PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Tactic of Maligning Pelosi Failing

If we uncover what is undoubtedly being hidden by this administration, America will probably be begging us to impeach Bush.

by PsiFighter37 2006-09-05 07:07PM | 0 recs
DeLay problem

This was the problem with running against Tom DeLay all those years too. Nobody in Connecticut knew who the hell he was. They sure do now, after he's been indicted. But in 2002 and 2004 they didn't. It takes a LONG time before a Congressional leader becomes a household name. That's why Southern Republicans still bring up Ted Kennedy.

by elrod 2006-09-05 07:15PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Tactic of Maligning Pelosi Failing

dudes and dudettes, it's not about the general public. it's about the base. the fever swamps. the ones they need to fire up to go to the polls. this is dog-whistle stuff.

by soodi 2006-09-05 07:35PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Tactic of Maligning Pelosi Failing

I'd agree with you, except take a look at the numbers from The Hotline poll. Just 27 percent of conservatives know enough about her to form an opinion, 14 percent view her unfavorably and 11 percent view her strongly unfavorably. That's not much of a base to rile.

by Jonathan Singer 2006-09-05 07:51PM | 0 recs
they are spraying the battlefield

I got called yesterday and today by a robocall "survey" that was really a Republican GOTV exercise funded by some astroturf group I never heard of. I can't remember the name, because I was distracted by my three-year-old.

After "Are you registered to vote?" and "Do you plan to vote this November?", all of the questions asked on this survey were very slanted, filled with GOP frames and talking points. They were yes or no questions. They were clearly spraying the battlefield, trying to find out which issue was a hot-button one for me, so that later they could pound on that issue when trying to get me out to vote.

One question was about taxes, one was about "frivolous lawsuits," one was about whether I want to see "California Democrat Nancy Pelosi" in charge, one was about whether I think illegal immigration is a problem, and so on. The fake survey had at least a dozen questions.

by desmoinesdem 2006-09-05 09:19PM | 0 recs
Re: they are spraying the battlefield

ex-ZAC-ly! they fire up one sliver of the conservative base with pelosi, one with frivolous lawsuits, one with scary brown immigrants, and before you know it, they have the whole base rabid and ready to eat b'ar. this is the republican version of pandering to one-issue interest groups on the left. only, thanks to surveys like the one above, they know down to the zip code which people to hit with which base-firing ammunition. this election is about turnout, and the other side knows turnout.

by soodi 2006-09-06 06:14AM | 0 recs
So - the Dem answer...

...to GOP scare tactics about the Lioness is, Everything's fine: nobody much knows who she is anyway.

Mind you, I knew there had to be some reason for her minimal charisma and yawnmaking presentational style...

by skeptic06 2006-09-05 08:17PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Tactic of Maligning Pelosi Failing

"The Quinnipiac survey shows that a 53 percent majority of Americans aren't familiar enough with Pelosi to form an opinion about her, the same amount as are unfamiliar with Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist. Close to two-thirds of Americans (65 percent) don't know much about Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid while no numbers were available for either House Speaker Denny Hastert or House Republican Leader John Boehner."

I would say that this means we haven't been doing our jobs well enough.  We aren't doing much if we aren't even making these people household names.

Fundraising is great and of course it makes sense to use blogs for such efforts but how can we make our way into everyone's home?

I've been using my eBay blog to try and bring politics to the people.  I've created several websites that highlight important issues using everday language.  But now what?

by goplies 2006-09-05 09:00PM | 0 recs
Thank you, exactly what I took from it

Our leaders should be reasonably well known. But that's not going to happen if all we do is attack the other side.

I guarantee we would have a better chance to take back the House if we had started a campaign a year or six months ago to portray Pelosi positively, some commercials focused strictly on her, along with talk show appearances. You don't even worry that she will be attacked by Republicans or not come across well. That's fear, and loser handicapping.

The voters are looking for a reason to side with us this year, and if they know the leader of our side it's much more likely to give them impetus and comfort level. And again, we desperately need the women's vote and she would likely help in that regard. I doubt many of the voters even realize a woman would lead the House if we take over.

by jagakid 2006-09-05 09:26PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Tactic of Maligning Pelosi Failing

I could live with Nancy Pelosi out of the picture.  I mean, after the way Pelosi and the democratic establishment treated Cynthia McKinney I pretty much lost faith in 95% of them.  I remember reading somewhere that Murtha's going to challenge her when the House takeover is through? I sure hope so.

by AnthonyMason2k6 2006-09-06 06:51AM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Tactic of Maligning Pelosi Failing
very interesting article, thank you,
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by jonnylee 2007-02-06 10:47AM | 0 recs

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