OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A new survey of top Washington, D.C., political figures found that approval ratings for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris continue to be less than stellar, to say the least, but one noted Republican leader is doing worse — much worse.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) came in at the bottom on a Gallup job approval survey — even lower than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who had a 40 percent approval versus 58 percent disapproval, and the Kentuckian trailing with an approval/disapproval split of 34/63.
The survey, which was taken between Dec. 1-16, asked 800 adults to rank federal officials in terms of approval; Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts scored the highest with a 60 percent approval rating, followed by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell with a 53 percent rating and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, with 52 percent.
They were the only ones on the list to rank above 50 percent including Biden and Harris — though the vice president came in with a 44 percent approval versus 43 percent for Biden.
In terms of GOP leaders, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California dramatically outperformed McConnell and also received a higher ranking than the president and his VP at 46 percent approval.
“The poll finds the public divided in their evaluations of the job that two high profile members of the Biden Administration are doing — Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Attorney General Merrick Garland. Both appointees receive 49% job approval ratings with 43% disapproving,” Gallup noted, going on to say that “Americans’ impressions of the bottom four ranking figures are decidedly more negative.”
“Gallup has limited trends on these job approval ratings, but it’s noteworthy that Harris’ approval rating has declined from 49% since September; at the same time, Biden’s has been steady at 43%. Her disapproval rating has increased from 49% to 54%,” Gallup reported.
As for Roberts being atop the list, Gallup explained the results this way: His appeal cuts across the political divide.
“Roberts is the only one of the leaders rated this year who receives majority approval from Republicans (57%) and Democrats (55%) in addition to political independents (64%). Most of the other leaders are viewed positively by two-thirds or more of one party versus less than a quarter of the other,” said the pollster.
According to Gallup, McConnell’s job approval rating appears to be the polar opposite of Roberts.
“A key exception is McConnell, whose performance is approved of by less than half of Republicans (46%),” Gallup noted. “At the same time, he receives the lowest ratings of the 11 from Democrats (21%) and independents (35%). Strikingly, majorities of all three groups disapprove of McConnell: 75% of Democrats, 64% of independents and 52% of Republicans.”
Gallup’s survey explainer also offered another perspective as to why McCarthy was viewed as the more favorable GOP leader over McConnell, and it is summed up in one name: “Trump.”
“Unlike McConnell, who has had a falling out with former President Donald Trump since he left office, McCarthy maintains a cordial relationship with Trump,” noted the polling firm. “McConnell and McCarthy have also taken different approaches to lifting the debt ceiling, with McCarthy opting out of supporting a bipartisan deal that McConnell backed.”
Nevertheless, none of the survey’s results should be viewed as encouraging for the Democratic Party’s top leaders of Biden, Harris, and Pelosi, as all three of them are polling in the low 40s — not good as the party faces a tough 2022 midterm election cycle.
To that point, dozens of Democrats have already decided to head for the exits.
While generic polling has Republicans well ahead in the quest for control of Congress next year, one retiring Democrat, Rep. Tom Suozzi of New York, said that had nothing to do with his decision to run for governor.
“I feel like this whole, you know, left-right extremist thing in our country is killing our country and it’s killing our state,” he said late last month. “I don’t think I could sit on the sidelines and watch what’s happening, watch what’s happening to our state, and not be engaged in an effort to try and bring it forward.”