First things first: The theme song of the week is The Blind Boys of Alabama’s Way Down in the Hole from The Wire.
Poll of the week: A Gallup poll out this week finds that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a favorable rating of 38% and an unfavorable rating of 48%. That’s bad enough for a net favorability rating of -10 points.
The same poll also showed that President Donald Trump’s favorable rating is 40% to unfavorable rating of 58%. That means his net favorability rating is -18 points.
What’s the point: The leading figures in the US government right now are not popular. For the first time during Trump’s presidency, though, Trump is more disliked than Pelosi.
Pelosi has become more popular since the Democrats won in November. Her net favorability rating rose in Gallup’s polling from -24 points in June to -10 points now in Gallup polling. In fact, it’s Pelosi’s best net favorability rating in a Gallup poll in 10 years. The most recent CNN and NBC/Wall Street Journal polls have made similar findings: Pelosi is on the rise.
It shouldn’t be too surprising that Pelosi numbers are up. Presidents often receive a boost in their ratings after they win an election. It would follow then that an incoming speaker would see their numbers climb as well when her or his party wins an election. Of course, just like with a president, this may merely be a honeymoon period for Pelosi. In other words, her numbers could fall.
Pelosi, however, may benefit from being seen as Trump’s chief foil. Her net favorability climbed 25 points among Democrats after the election – much more than it did among independents or Republicans. There’s no reason to think that she won’t continue to be one of Trump’s main adversaries over the next year, which could keep her ratings among Democrats (and thus her overall ratings) up.
Of course, it’s not as if Pelosi is popular. A -10 point net favorability rating is still pretty bad. (Her net favorability rating of -12 points in the last CNN poll and -13 points in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll are even worse.)
Politics, though, are rarely a referendum on congressional leaders. If anything, they’re a referendum on the President. Trump continues to have poor ratings just like he had when his party lost control of the House in November.
Trump and his allies have tried to point the blame for the shutdown on Pelosi. I’m quite skeptical that is going to work out well for the GOP. They tried to make the midterms a choice between Pelosi and Trump when Pelosi was less popular than Trump. That clearly didn’t turn out well for the Republicans. It’s much more likely to fail now given that Pelosi is actually more popular than Trump.