The Republican Party will begin its time as the minority party in Washington unpopular with a public ready to move on from President Donald Trump, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS. The poll also finds that the most high-profile elected Republican who will remain in office after Trump leaves, Sen. Mitch McConnell, is viewed more negatively than ever before.
The public overwhelmingly wants to see the Republican Party move on from Trump once he’s left office. Overall, just 19% say the party ought to continue to treat Trump as its leader, while 77% say it should move on. Among Republicans, views are split, with 48% saying the party should move on and 47% saying the party should continue to treat Trump as the leader of the party. Independents who lean toward the Republican Party, however, are much more likely to say the party should move on from Trump (62% feel that way).
And after months of the Trump campaign and conservative media sowing doubts about the results of the 2020 presidential election, self-identified Republicans are less likely to have confidence in American elections than are Democrats, which could complicate GOP efforts to get those voters to the polls in future contests. There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Yet 75% of Republicans say they have little or no confidence that elections in America today reflect the will of the people, including a majority (57%) who say they are not at all confident that election results represent the will of the people.
The Republican Party’s favorability rating has taken a 9-point hit since before Election Day, with just 32% viewing it favorably. That shift rests mostly on a decline in positive views among Republicans themselves: 92% had a positive take in October, just 76% do now.
The drop in positive sentiment toward the GOP comes as opinions of Trump have also shifted negative. The President will leave office this week with the lowest approval rating of his term, while most would prefer him to be removed from office before January 20, and a majority describe his time in office as a failure.
Views of the Democratic Party, meanwhile, have held about even, 49% have a favorable view now compared with 46% in October. And self-identified Democrats are more apt to have a favorable view of their own party (89%) than Republicans are to say they have a positive take on their chosen party.
McConnell, the current majority leader who will become minority leader after Biden is inaugurated and the results of the Georgia Senate runoffs are certified, is viewed more negatively than he has been at any point in CNN’s polling by a wide margin. About two-thirds (66%) have an unfavorable view of the Kentucky Republican, outpacing his previous high by 17 points. Those unfavorable views have grown across party lines, up 20 points among Republicans, 18 points among independents and up 14 points among Democrats since a December 2019 poll.
McConnell’s negatives far outpace those of any of the other top leaders in Congress, though none are viewed positively. Views of incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are about evenly divided, 39% favorable and 41% unfavorable. Most Democrats (75%) say they have a positive view of Schumer, about 30 points better than McConnell’s favorability among Republicans.
On the House side, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is viewed favorably by 44% and unfavorably by 52%. Democrats largely view the Speaker positively (84% favorable), while Republicans are sharply negative toward Pelosi (94% have an unfavorable view of her). House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is less well-known than other leaders in Congress (42% offer no opinion of him), but those with an opinion tilt slightly negative (25% favorable to 33% unfavorable). Among Republicans, 43% have a favorable view and 21% an unfavorable one.
The methodology and weighting for this poll has been modified compared with previous CNN polls. Interviews conducted on cellphones made up 75% of the total, up from 65% in prior surveys. Dialing extended over six days rather than four days, allowing for more effort to be made to contact those who are not easily reachable. Demographic weighting was adjusted to account for more discrete education categories broken out by race, and a geographic weight was applied to ensure representative distribution by population density. In addition, results were weighted for partisan identification and lean among independents, with targets computed using an average of the current poll plus three recent CNN polls.
The new CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS January 9 through 14 among a random national sample of 1,003 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.