• Polling

Congressional Republicans and Their Agenda Both Deeply Underwater As They Take The House

Thursday, January 12, 2023 By Bryan Bennett
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Welcome to NAVIGATOR – a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments.

Key takeaways

  • Views of Kevin McCarthy have declined since November among both independents and Republicans. Most Americans also disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are handling their jobs and are hearing more negative information on them this week than previously recorded in Navigator tracking.
  • After a prolonged Speaker election, sizable majorities believe Republicans are focused on consolidating their power and fighting amongst themselves rather than serving the public.
  • The least popular tested potential Republican actions are ending the guarantee of Social Security/Medicare, banning books, preventing Medicare from negotiating drug prices, and making it easier to overturn election results.
  • Investigating the Biden administration and family is not a priority for most Americans, who are more likely to describe Republican investigations as “political stunts” than serious efforts to uncover wrongdoing.

Three in Five Disapprove of Congressional GOP; Highest Share in Navigator Tracking Are Hearing Negative News About Them

In a separate question, two in three Americans (66%) report hearing “mostly negative” (41%) or “an equal mix of positive and negative” (25%) things about Republicans in Congress, which is the highest share recorded in Navigator’s tracking since October 2021.

Views of Kevin McCarthy Have Eroded, Driven Most By a Decline Among Independents and His Own Party

Opinions of Kevin McCarthy have declined among all partisan and racial groups, with 8-point declines among independents (from net -20 favorable in November to net -28 now) and Republicans (from net +20 in November to net +12 now).

After Contentious Speaker Elections, Consolidation of Power and Party Infighting at Expense of Americans Best Describe GOP

Two in three Americans (66%) report hearing “a lot” or “some” about the Speaker elections; this group agrees the GOP is “focused on getting and strengthening their power” and “fighting amongst themselves and neglecting the American people” (75% agree with each).

A Declining Minority Say the Country Will Be Better Off with Republicans in Control of the House

Views among Republicans in particular about the future of the country under Republican leadership have declined since late November. Previously, 55% of Republicans said the country would be better off (compared to 43% now) and 30% said it would be about the same (compared to 38% now), driven by less ideological Republicans who do not identify as “very conservative.”

Majorities Are Pessimistic Much Will Get Done By Congress in Next Two Years; Republicans Would Be More to Blame If Not

Nearly three in four Americans say “nothing” (23%) or “few things” (49%) will get done by Congress.

  • Nearly two in five who say “nothing”/”few things” will get done would blame Republicans (38%) while 22% would blame Democrats.

Americans Most Oppose GOP House Moving to End Guarantee of SS/Medicare, Ban Books, Prevent Lower Drug Prices

Pluralities of independents oppose each of a range of potential Republican actions, except for ending financial support for Ukraine.

  • Republicans who are not very conservative are more likely than their “very conservative” counterparts to oppose each item tested, particularly banning abortions, impeaching President Biden, and repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Investigating the Biden Administration and Family Is Not a Top Priority for Americans

Americans prioritize Republicans in the House focusing on issues like inflation (58%), health care (32%), and immigration (30%) over investigating Biden (14%). Very conservative Republicans drive the share who prioritize those investigations (32%).

Most Americans Want Congressional Focus on Inflation, But See GOP as Too Focused on Investigating Biden

Roughly one in three Americans each prioritize health care and climate; few see Republicans in Congress focused on these issues.

Americans Are Divided on Concerns About House GOP Investigating Biden, Call Them “Political Stunts,” Not Serious

While Americans are divided on whether they are more concerned Republican officials will go too far on Congressional oversight of Biden or the Biden administration will get away with corruption, a plurality say the investigations are “political stunts” (44%).

  • A plurality of independents (38%) and even one in five Republicans (20%) call them political stunts.

Winning Messages on Investigations Focus on Lack of Reasons to Investigate Biden and GOP Failures on Campaign Promises

The strongest messages against a conservative argument on behalf of investigations of Biden focus on how Democrats have real reasons to investigate Trump unlike Republicans on Biden (net +6 progressive argument) and Republicans wasting time and money on investigations while failing to keep their campaign promises (net +8).


About The Study

Global Strategy Group conducted public opinion surveys among a sample of 1,000 registered voters from January 5-January 9, 2023. 100 additional interviews were conducted among Hispanic voters. 74 additional interviews were conducted among Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. 100 additional interviews were conducted among African American voters. 101 additional interviews were conducted among independent voters.

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About Navigator

In a world where the news cycle is the length of a tweet, our leaders often lack the real-time public-sentiment analysis to shape the best approaches to talking about the issues that matter the most. Navigator is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates by conducting research and reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press. Navigator is a project led by pollsters from Global Strategy Group and GBAO along with an advisory committee, including: Andrea Purse, progressive strategist; Arkadi Gerney, The Hub Project; Joel Payne, The Hub Project; Christina Reynolds, EMILY’s List; Delvone Michael, Working Families; Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute; Mike Podhorzer, AFL-CIO; Jesse Ferguson, progressive strategist; Navin Nayak, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Stephanie Valencia, EquisLabs; and Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

For press inquiries contact: press@navigatorresearch.org