No Labels-Harris Poll

No Labels-Harris Poll: Majority Want New Leaders in Congress

By No Labels
May 7, 2018 | Blog

A majority of both Republicans and Democrats say America needs new party leaders in Congress, according to the latest No Labels-Harris Poll.

The poll showed that 56 percent of Americans say Congress needs new leadership, a majority that largely held up across all ages, genders, income brackets and education levels. Forty-four percent say they want to continue with current leadership.

The sentiment was even stronger among Democrats, 58 percent of whom supported a change in the party’s current leadership compared to 42 percent who don’t. Meanwhile, 53 percent of Republicans—who control both the House and Senate—support a leadership change while 47 percent think that current leadership should continue.

Perhaps most surprising, 60 percent of respondents who consider themselves politically moderate favor a change in congressional party leadership, far outweighing those who identity as conservatives (52 percent) and liberals (53 percent). The poll was conducted by Harris Insights & Analytics May 1 to May 3 and surveyed 738 Democrats and 615 Republicans.


New Congress, new leaders

The poll is significant as important primaries in coming weeks shape the landscape of November’s election, which will determine which party controls Congress and who within that party will rise to the level of leadership.

With the retirement of Speaker Paul Ryan at the end of the year, the election will determine the next speaker of the House. If Republicans retain control, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, is a leading contender. If Democrats take the chamber, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who served as Speaker from 2007 to 2011, is a favorite. Yet it is no certainty that either of these frontrunners will prevail.

In the Senate, which analysts say is less likely to change hands, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is expected to retain his position, as is Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat.

Like most midterm elections, the outcome of this year’s races will be seen as a referendum on the performance of the Trump administration. Both parties are working hard to tilt that equation. With more than half of the states holding primary elections between now and the end of June, that story is being written now.

The primaries in coming weeks, and the general election in November, will determine the character of the Congress that gets sworn in come January. Polls show that congressional approval has largely remained in the teens for most of the year, with disapproval never dipping below 70 percent. That means that 7 in 10 Americans disapprove of the job that Congress is doing. A new Congress—and new leadership—could change that.

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