By David Bozell
A new national survey shows that 2018 Mid-Term Election likely voters across the board—be it self-identified conservatives, self-identified independents, and even self-identified moderates(!)—are even more likely to vote Republican if they knew the new Speaker of the House would come from outside the current Leadership apparatus.
The poll by McLaughlin and Associates, and commissioned by ForAmerica, potentially stunts the ambitions of GOP leaders like Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), both of whom are rumored to want to replace Paul Ryan as Speaker. The polling shows that turnout would increase, in favor of the Republican Party, if voters were assured that these politicians would NOT get the job.
Respondents were asked two questions related to the U.S. House Speaker race:
First, if they would be more or less likely to vote Republican for Congress this November if they “knew the next Republican House Speaker would be picked from the current Republican House Leadership and would continue to support and advocate the same policies as the current Republican House leadership.”
Second, if they would be more or less likely to vote Republican for Congress this November if they “knew the next Republican House Speaker would not be from the current Republican House Leadership but would be someone new from outside the current leadership who would advocate the populist conservative policies of President Trump: ‘drain the swamp’; ‘build the wall’; congressional term limits; etc.”
The poll results show that if voters knew the new Speaker is someone from outside current leadership, someone who advocates for Trump’s agenda, Republican members pick up “more likely” votes in so many categories:
- +4 percentage points from self-identified Republicans
- +1 percentage point from self-identified Democrats
- +9 percentage points from self-identified Independents
- +7 percentage points from self-identified Moderates (an interesting and surprising number, more on that below.)
- +5 percentage points from self-identified Conservatives
The positive vibes for an overhaul of the Republican Leadership don’t stop at political affiliation. A variety of socioeconomic backgrounds yield increased turnout for Republicans. Those voters more likely to vote GOP IF those voters knew a Leadership change was coming:
- Men (+4 percent) AND women (+5 percent)
- College graduates (+ 6 percent) AND those without a college degree (+4 percent)
- Whites (+7 percent); Hispanics (+4 percent)
- Voters Under 55 years-old (+4 percent); Voters Over 55 years-old (+6 percent)
- Single voters (+ 5 percent); AND married voters (+4 percent)
And these voters aren’t just from cherry-picked friendly House Freedom Caucus districts either. Voter desires for new Leadership knows no geographic bounds. Voters residing in the East (+10 percent), voters in the West (+6 percent), voters in the Midwest (+4 percent), and voters in the South (+2 percent) are all more likely to vote Republican if they know the next Speaker will not come from the current GOP Leadership team.
The reverse of these numbers is also true: if mid-term voters see the new Speaker come from within current leadership, the less-likely they are to vote Republican. An already tough election cycle for Republicans becomes that much more difficult.
It makes obvious sense that conservatives want change in GOP leadership, given the current leadership’s abysmal failures on key conservative campaign promises, but such a clamor among women, independents and most notably, moderates – even East Coast moderates – will surprise many politicos in the swamp.
Conventional wisdom says moderates want someone less conservative, like current leadership, and more moderate, like current leadership?
Unfortunately for conventional wisdom, failure theater has become the norm on Capitol Hill, and voters of all stripes know it, and voters of all stripes have had it. The list of broken promises from Congress is a mile long and growing. The manufactured “government shutdown” crisis has become so routine, it is now a yawner for many. They can’t seem to cut one red penny from anywhere or anything. They can’t pass a budget. Most of them still don’t read any bills. Our military is used as political pawns. Our borders are a mess. There’s no injection of fresh creative thinking to even attempt to tackle problems. When Congress does report to work, it’s only for two, maybe three days a week, max. Everything is run from the top down. When Congress absolutely must pass something – anything – to keep its own doors open, Schumer, Pelosi and K-Street somehow manage to run the show and get everything they want. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Conservative activist groups have declared publicly that existing Republican leadership need not apply to the Speaker’s race, and these poll results bear out that sentiment, even among a vast spectrum of voting demographics.
Because of the lack of results from the current Leadership crop, there is a near-universal desire among mid-term voters for fresh faces in the GOP’s Leadership team. The data shows voters from diverse demographics are hungry for genuine change—an injection of new blood.
In the same vein, if a McCarthy or a Scalise – or anyone in the existing GOP leadership apparatus – is tapped as Speaker before the mid-terms, their selection will be an anvil on Republican chances of maintaining their majority.
Speaking of McCarthy, the California Republican was with the President at his rally in Minnesota last night. If we know anything about the President, the former reality-show producer, Trump was auditioning McCarthy in front of Trump’s base to take the base’s temperature on McCarthy’s prospects as Speaker.
But if these poll results are any indication, the voters are already speaking loud and clear: If Republicans want to win, they must make clear to voters that their choice for Speaker is someone other than current Republican Leaders, someone who is fighting against DC’s Swamp culture and is consistently advocating for Trump’s agenda.