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Congressional Favorability Ratings: Pelosi Is Still Least Popular Congressional Leader


While she's much less often in the news these days, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remains Congress' most disliked leader. But Pelosi earns higher favorables than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid whose popularity has fallen to its lowest level in over two years.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 28% of Likely U.S. Voters hold a favorable opinion of Pelosi, now the House minority leader, while 63% view her unfavorably. This includes eight percent (8%) with a Very Favorable impression of the San Francisco congresswoman and 45% with a Very Unfavorable one. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Pelosi’s unfavorable ratings have ranged from a low of 52% to a high of 64% since mid-February 2009.

By comparison, Pelosi's successor, current Speaker John Boehner, is viewed at least somewhat favorably by 37% and unfavorably by 39%. These findings include 10% who have a Very Favorable opinion of the Ohio congressman and 18% who view him Very Unfavorably. Twenty-five percent (25%), however, still don't know enough about Boehner to voice an opinion of him.

The number of voters who see Boehner in a favorable light shows no change from last month.  As media coverage of Boehner increased following the Republican takeover of the House in the November elections, his favorable ratings climbed steadily to a high of 47% in March.  Prior to November, Boehner's favorables had ranged from 21% to 32% since January 2009, but he was largely unknown to a sizable number of voters.

Reid now earns favorable marks from only 21% of voters, the lowest level measured since February 2009.  Fifty percent (50%) have an unfavorable opinion of him.  These findings include five percent (5%) who see the Nevada Democrat Very Favorably and 35% who regard him Very Unfavorably.  But 29% have no opinion of the longtime legislator.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, remains the least-known top congressional leader, with 40% who express no opinion of him. McConnell’s favorables add up to 27%, including just five percent with a Very Favorable view of him. Thirty-three percent (33%) share an unfavorable assessment of the Kentucky Republican, with 15% Very Unfavorable.

Voters not affiliated with either of the major parties remain slightly more critical of the Democratic leaders than of those who head the GOP in Congress.

As they have since July 2009, Republicans led Democrats again this past week on the Generic Congressional Ballot, but for the 10th straight week, GOP support has stayed in the narrow range of 41% to 44%. Before that, Republican support had been slightly higher, generally 45% or 46%.

Just nine percent (9%) of Likely Voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job.  Fifty percent (50%) rate congressional performance as poor.

Voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on just six out of 10 important voting issues.

Republican voters are slightly less critical of the job their representatives in Congress are doing, but most still think the legislators are out of sync with the party base. Democratic voters, by contrast, are not as happy with the performance of their congressmen as they were a year ago.

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion polling information.  We poll on a variety of topics in the fields of politics, business and lifestyle, updating our site’s content on a news cycle throughout the day, everyday.

Rasmussen Reports Platinum Members get an all-access pass to polling news, analysis and insight not available to the general public.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade. To learn more about our methodology, click here.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters nationwide was conducted on May 29-30, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Survey of 1,000 Likely Voters
May 29-30, 2011

Congressional Favorability Ratings

Member of Congress



John Boehner



Nancy Pelosi



Mitch McConnell



Harry  Reid



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©2011 Rasmussen Reports, LLC
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