Nancy Pelosi is No Newt Gingrich

CNN says that Nancy Pelosi is facing Newt Gingrich-like approval ratings:

Nearly half of all Americans -- 48 percent -- disapprove of how the California Democrat she is handling her job as Speaker of the House in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday, while 39 percent approve of her performance.


That puts her approval rating at roughly the levels Newt Gingrich had in his first year as Speaker of the House. (Back in 1995, Gingrich's approval rating was 37 percent; by 1997 -- at the same point in his speakership that Pelosi is now -- that had dropped to just 25 percent.)

The headline of this post reads "Pelosi facing Gingrich-like approval ratings," but even is forced to admit -- even if just in parentheses -- that an apples-to-apples comparison of Pelosi and Gingrich shows the Democratic leader to be significantly more popular than the Republican leader was at a similar point in his tenure.

But let's parse these numbers further. Gingrich's disapproval rating consistently stood above 50 percent, reaching as high as a whopping 62 percent, in the period following his shutdown of the United States government in late 1995 and early 1996. From the time of this failed political gambit to the later failed political gambit that was the impeachment of Bill Clinton, Gingrich's approval rating averaged 30.9 percent, per Gallup polling (which I believe CNN co-sponsored at the time), while his disapproval rating averaged 55.5 percent. Over the course of Gingrich's entire tenure as Speaker, his net negative rating (again, per Gallup) was negative-22.6 points.

Pelosi's net-negative rating in the current CNN poll is 9 points -- not great, but not nearly a Gingrich-like number. What's more, looking through all of the polling on her Speakership, no survey has found a majority of the country disapproving of Pelosi's job performance with the exception of the Harris poll, which asks a strangely weighted question that lumps the ambivalent feeling of "fair" into its disapproval rating. Gingrich's disapproval rating averaged well north of 50 percent during his time as Speaker, while Pelosi's disapproval rating hasn't even hit that mark in a single equally weighted poll.

Again, this isn't to say that Pelosi's numbers are great, because they aren't. But they also aren't terrible -- and they certainly aren't Gingrich-like, whatever the headline-writers at CNN say.

Tags: Nancy Pelosi, newt gingrich (all tags)



She got a lot done in her first 100 days

And then she followed on with a lot of good work but since then she's kind of dropped off the radar.

My view is that Americans are expressing their displeasure in the House, because its easiest to see direct connectivity. Your House Rep. is easy to get to.

So when they actively vote for Health Care reform and then they see legislation that only delivers like. say. 1.5 % cost reduction and no single payer model. They get upset at the House

by Trey Rentz 2009-05-19 07:39AM | 0 recs
Nancy Pelosi is not God

She works for us, not vice versa.

She deserves our support when she does good things, and our criticisms when she does bad things.

Not challenging Bush or Obama on torture and secrecy -- bad thing.  (Hey, folks, let's not pretend abuse of prisoners stopped on January 20 just because we like our president.)  Blocking investigations of who knew what and when just because it might expose Dems -- bad thing.  Blocking ethics investigations for crooked Dems like Murtha -- bad thing.  (Dirty is dirty, and it's always bad.) etc etc etc

If our support for these leaders is unconditional, there's no reason for them to stop doing bad things.

I won't support Dem leaders who just want to beat the Repubs at their own games.  The whole point of 2008 was to change the game.

by DFLer 2009-05-19 09:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Nancy Pelosi is not God

"Blocking investigations of who knew what and when just because it might expose Dems -- bad thing."

When did this happen?

by Jess81 2009-05-19 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Nancy Pelosi is not God

Fair enough.  I'm ranting at the Dem leadership in general, and one of my three doesn't fall at Pelosi's feet.  To her credit, tho she's personally guilty of looking the other way on Obama's bad moves and on Murtha, she has parted with other Dem leaders on torture investigations.

I just don't want us to start acting like Republicans, defending our party leaders no matter what they do.

by DFLer 2009-05-19 03:08PM | 0 recs


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