A poll conducted on behalf of the Republican National Committee found that Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker of the House from California, is more popular than President Donald Trump — and comes out on top when the midterm election is cast as a race between the two political foils.
The private survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and obtained by Bloomberg Business Week, asked registered voters who they would support "when the November election is framed by Trump and Pelosi."
In the RNC poll, which was completed on Sept. 2, Americans were more likely to say they would support a candidate backed by Pelosi over a candidate backed by Donald Trump by 5 points — 50 percent to 45 percent. Among independents only, Pelosi still topped Trump by four points.
The results of the Republican Party's own poll are even more damning on a generic congressional ballot, which reveals that voters favor the California Democrat by nine points over Trump.
The results are remarkable given that the GOP has spent so much time and effort vilifying the former House speaker — a trend that can be seen by looking all the way back to her first appointment to her party's leadership ranks.
It seems things have not changed much, according to Bloomberg:
What makes the internal poll results so tantalizing—and embarrassing for Trump—is that Republicans have spent years gleefully caricaturing Pelosi as the embodiment of effete, out-of-touch coastal liberalism. That helped power Republican gains in the past two midterm cycles, 2010 and 2014.
Facing the likelihood of Democratic advances in November, Republican strategists are eager to frame the midterm elections in a way that will minimize the damage. So they may stick with the tried-and-true approach of attacking Pelosi—even though their own party's poll shows her outperforming Trump.
Pelosi, who has indicated that she is not ready to step down from her seat in the People's House, has become a polarizing figure — even within her own party. Most recently, the California Democrat faced resistance from a fresh crop of Democrats, who have said on the record that they intend to oppose her continued tenure as leader of the House Democratic Caucus.
In response to the call for new leadership, the 78-year-old lawmaker said she "doesn't care" about the number of Democratic candidates on the campaign trail who openly oppose her desire to wield the speaker's gavel once again — if distancing themselves from her is helpful for their local elections.
Pelosi also delineated a test for any aspiring party leader. She said any Democrat who hopes to assume her post should "have a following, [and] that they've shown a vision for the country."
Any would-be challenger, she said, must show that they have huge fundraising prowess, as well.
Although Pelosi is facing more pushback from Democrats than any other time in her career, her fundraising abilities continue to be her strongest asset — and one that could help secure her continued leadership.
At this point, eyes remain on Pelosi's first test to reclaim the speakership – helping Democrats secure a victory in November. FiveThirtyEight's most recent estimate of the race for Congress shows that Democrats have a national average over Republicans – 49.2 to 40.4 percent.