The FINANCIAL — It looks like Republican voters are ready to clean house when it comes to the party’s top two congressional leaders.
Following John Boehner’s sudden decision to step down as speaker of the House of Representatives, 46% of Likely Republican Voters think Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also should resign. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 22% of GOP voters don’t think the longtime Kentucky senator should step down as majority leader, but a sizable 32% are undecided.
As with Boehner, Democrats are more opposed to McConnell’s resignation than voters in his own party are. Only 14% of Republicans think Boehner’s resignation is bad for the congressional GOP.
Many of those in Congress who have been critical of Boehner also don’t feel McConnell has been aggressive enough in his dealings with President Obama and Democrats in the Senate. The vice chairman of the Republican National Committee has called on McConnell to resign from his post.
Just 40% of Republican voters have a favorable opinion of McConnell who has served in the U.S. Senate for 30 years but has been majority leader only since January. That includes just eight percent (8%) who view him Very Favorably.
Among all Likely Voters, 42% say McConnell should resign as majority leader, while 25% disagree. Thirty-three percent (33%) are undecided.
The key question for House Republicans now is whether they want a speaker who will fight more or one who like Boehner hopes periodic strategic wins will put the party in a better place come the next election.
Men are slightly more likely than women to think McConnell should resign, but then women are much more undecided on the question.
Over half (52%) of self-described conservative voters think McConnell should quit as majority leader, a view shared by just 32% of moderates and 38% of liberal voters.
Interestingly, the highest levels of support for McConnell’s resignation are among those who Strongly Approve of Obama’s job performance and those who Strongly Disapprove of it.
In late July, Senator Ted Cruz voiced the unhappiness of many Republican conservatives when he took to the floor of the Senate and in a rare intraparty broadside accused McConnell of lying. Veteran Republican senators quickly rallied to McConnell’s defense. Rasmussen Reports suggested at the time that it might have been the shot fired at Fort Sumter that signaled the real start of a GOP civil war.
No one likes the job Congress is doing, but Republicans are more critical than Democrats and unaffiliateds even though the GOP has been in control of both the House and Senate since January.
Most Republican voters have long felt that their congressional representatives are out of touch with the party’s base. Only 24% of Likely GOP Voters now believe Republicans in Congress have done a good job representing their party’s values. Democrats, by contrast, are much happier with their representation in Washington, D.C.