Yes, it’s a very good thing that the House of Representatives has voted for a Republican as Speaker Of The House. And Yes, most Republican voters wanted Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to lead the House, but it might not be as many as you think.
An Economist-YouGov poll released Thursday showed that only 59 percent of Republicans approve of McCarthy being elected speaker, while 21 percent disapprove and 20 percent are not sure. The fact that only 60% applauded McCarthy’s promotion to Speaker sends a very strong message to House Republicans that we’re watching you.
If McCarthy doesn’t do exactly what he promised members of the Freedom Caucus, who made the California Rep. sweat through 15 rounds of speaker votes, then there’s a very good chance he won’t survive another round of gavel votes if Republicans win the majority again in 2024. This is what the numbers tell me at least. 40% is a big number of people who don’t care for the speakership results and should be a clear indication to McCarthy that he has very little wiggle room to screw this up.
Though McCarthy only recently became Speaker of the House, 42% of Republicans approve of how he’s handled the position so far. Just one in eight (12%) disapprove of how he’s handling the role, and 46% are unsure. The poll did however show a comfortable plurality of Republicans approved of McCarthy’s performance as minority leader throughout the Biden administration while he held that role.
Republicans are much more optimistic about McCarthy’s ability to be an effective speaker than Democrats or independents. Pollsters found 44 percent of Republicans expect him to be effective in his position, while only 19 percent of Democrats and 15 percent of independents said the same. But are we surprised that only 19% of Dems approve of McCarthy? The Democrats could have run a glass of orange juice for Speaker and still would have been happier with the outcome over Kevin McCarthy.
McCarthy had the backing of most of the Republican Conference throughout the 15-vote battle, the longest since the Civil War, but 20 members held out their support, denying him victory throughout most of the votes. They eventually either voted for him or voted “present,” abstaining to allow him to clinch the win with a lower threshold to reach a majority of votes after agreeing to multiple concessions to win over their support, including allowing for a single member of the Republican Conference to make a motion to remove the speaker from their position.
The poll was conducted from Jan. 7th to 10th among 1,500 U.S. adults. The margin of error was about 3 points.