New Poll Shows Tepid GOP Support for Boehner in Role of Speaker

by Jim Geraghty

From the final Morning Jolt of the week…

Despite an Ominous New Poll, Speaker Boehner Isn’t Going Anywhere

House Speaker John Boehner is not particularly popular with Republican voters.

We now know just how unenthusiastic Republicans feel from a new poll conducted by Pat Caddell and EMC Research, commissioned by the People’s Poll, in an exclusive to the Morning Jolt/Campaign Spot.

Nine percent of self-identified Republicans and self-described independents who say they lean closer to Republicans say they feel “strongly favorable” about Boehner, and another 34 percent say “somewhat favorable.” Another 23 percent say they’re “somewhat unfavorable,” and another 11 percent say strongly unfavorable. An entire 11 percent say they’ve never heard of John Boehner.

Asked, “If it were up to you, would you elect John Boehner to continue as Speaker of the House or would you elect someone new?”, 11 percent of respondents said “definitely” Boehner, 15 percent said “probably,” 26 percent said “probably” someone new, and 34 percent said someone new, definitely.

When asked whether they agree with the statement, “I trust House Speaker John Boehner to fight for the issues that are important to most Republicans,” 52 percent agreed, 37 percent disagreed. Only 13 percent strongly agreed, 18 percent strongly disagreed.

When asked whether they agree with the statement, “Speaker Boehner has been ineffective in opposing President Obama’s agenda”, 64 percent agreed, 24 percent disagreed. An entire 29 percent strongly agreed, only 9 percent strongly disagreed.

When asked whether they agree with the statement, “House Speaker John Boehner has the best interests of the American public at heart, rather than special interests”, 44 percent agreed, 43 percent disagreed. Only 9 percent strongly agreed, and 20 percent strongly disagreed.

Those aren’t awful numbers, but they’re not exactly warm, either.

Particularly after the Steve Scalese headache – is it conceivable the congressman apologized for attending a meeting he didn’t actually attend? – some folks on the Right are saying this recent brouhaha is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and that Boehner has to go. For example, Sean Hannity is calling for Boehner to be replaced with Trey Gowdy.

First, basic question: Does Trey Gowdy want to be speaker? The official word is “no.”

But the conservative South Carolina Republican says he has no interest in becoming Speaker when lawmakers cast their vote on the House floor next month. 

“Rep. Gowdy has said his time and attention will continue to be devoted to the work assigned to him,” said Gowdy’s spokeswoman, Amanda Duvall. “He is not interested in any leadership positions and believes one can have influence without the title.” 

This past spring, Boehner (R-Ohio) appointed Gowdy as chairman of the special House committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. And Boehner recently said Gowdy would remain in that high-profile post in the 114th Congress as well. 

This hasn’t stopped the “Elect Trey Gowdy Speaker of the House” Facebook page from getting 21,000 likes and widespread use of the #SpeakerGowdy hashtag.

You can’t beat something with nothing. Replacing Boehner requires a rival that a majority of House Republicans will support – and while it’s understandable that other Republicans might want to hide their ambitions, eventually you need a figure to make this more than a theory or a dream. At this point the “rebellion” against Boehner consists of 16 to 18 guys out of 247 House Republicans.

So it’s cute when Rep. Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican, Tweets out this

…but it doesn’t mean much until there’s an alternative named something besides “Not Boehner.”

An odd little revelation about John Boehner from a New York Times profile of actor Tony Danza:

Then there was that earlier meal at Patsy’s when he and Mr. Farah ran into House Speaker John A. Boehner and his family.

When Mr. Boehner learned that it was Mr. Danza’s birthday, Mr. Farah recalled, “He turns to his family and he goes, ‘Family, what do we do on someone’s birthday?’ 

“Mid-meal, they put their things down and sang their own birthday song. It’s like a fight song.

The EMC Research survey polled 602 Republican voters and independents who lean Republican and voted Republican in 2014; the margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points. The poll was conducted from December 26 to 30.

The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.