To be fair, the same Emerson poll shows that the alternative face of the Democratic Party doesn’t fare much better. Among Democrats, both Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez get majorities seeing them favorably, and the other three “Squad” members also get double-digit positive overall favorability ratings. When it comes to the general electorate, however, fortunes reverse sharply for both the Speaker and the Squad:
The Democratic House leadership is struggling with favorability among voters; Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a 28% favorable opinion and a 46% unfavorable opinion. The House “squad,” consisting of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Illan Omar and Ayanna Pressley share this image problem. Ocasio-Cortez is at 30% favorable and 47% unfavorable, Tlaib is at 26% favorable and 42% unfavorable, Omar is at 25% favorable and 46% unfavorable, and Pressley is at 24% favorable and 35% unfavorable.
Among Democrats, Pelosi is at 51% favorable/18% unfavorable, Ocasio-Cortez is at 54% favorable/17% unfavorable, Omar is at 46% favorable/20% unfavorable, Tlaib is at 48% favorable/17% unfavorable and Pressley is at 44% favorable/14% unfavorable.
That’s, er, quite the disconnect between Democrats and everyone else. Predictably, Republicans strongly disfavor all five, although not entirely equally in Emerson’s crosstabs. Ocasio-Cortez gets the highest unfavorable ratings among Republicans at 75.6%, but Pelosi’s right behind her at 73.0%. Ilhan Omar’s disfavorably viewed by 70.2% of Republicans, while Rashida Tlaib comes in at 67.3% unfavorable and Ayanna Pressley only at 58.5%.
One can expect that kind of reaction from Republican voters, but Democrats also have big issues with independents on the two faces of their party. In that demo, Pelosi gets a 20/50 rating, AOC gets 23/53, Omar’s at 18/52; Tlaib and Pressley are both under a majority for unfavorable rating at 18/44 and 17/35. Unfortunately for all of them, they’re too well known for any serious upside to change those numbers. If there’s a battle for who gets to be the face of the party, Democrats seem destined to lose it no matter which side prevails.
On the other hand, Donald Trump’s not doing too badly, especially by comparison:
President Trump’s job approval improved slightly from early this month and is now at 45% approval and 46% disapproval. His support within the Republican party continues to be strong as Trump dominates a potential primary against former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld 91% to 8%. The Republican primary poll was n=467 with a +/-4.5%.
In potential head to head matchups, President Trump runs slightly closer to some of his potential Democratic opponents than in previous Emerson polls. Biden and Sanders each lead Trump by 2 points at 51% to 49%, Warren is tied at 50% with Trump, and Harris and Buttigieg both trail by 4 points, 48% to 52%. Spencer Kimball, Director of the Emerson Poll, notes how “this is the second poll where Biden has seen his general election support dip since the first debate. This may have to do with the more liberal positions he took, but in the last 3 weeks his head to head matchups with Trump have tightened 8 points.”
Bear in mind too that this comes from a poll in which only 39% of respondents say they voted for Donald Trump and 40.2% for Hillary Clinton. A little over 20% of respondents claim they voted for someone else (12.2%) or not at all (8.6%), which hardly reflects the likely electorate in 2020 and most certainly doesn’t reflect 2016’s either. Trump may be doing better than this poll indicates, and his recent momentum in the Emerson series suggests that Democrats’ push to the left is paying off for Trump. Small wonder that Trump keeps elevating AOC Plus 3, but if this is reflective of political reality, he might do just as well by targeting Pelosi.