by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) majority in the lower chamber was eviscerated on election night, after pollsters predicted that Democrats would make significant gains in congressional elections. Pelosi currently holds an 11-seat majority, losing 9 seats thus far; likewise, Republicans lost no incumbent seats thus far, and flipped upwards of 14 seats previously held by Democrats.
A fresh Politico/Morning Consult poll spells even more trouble for Democrats’ self-proclaimed “master legislator.” Just 31 percent of voters across the board believe that Pelosi should serve another term as speaker, while 56 percent say that she should step aside. On the other hand, 53 percent of self-identified Democrats support Pelosi’s fourth bid for the speakership, but 83 percent and 59 percent of Republicans and Independents, respectively, oppose her serving as speaker again.
The California Democrat’s overall favorability is also dismal, according to this poll. Just 37 percent of voters overall view Pelosi favorably, and just 27 percent of Independents, meaning that 52 percent of voters across the board do not view the speaker in a favorable light.
This poll follows comments made by self-proclaimed socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a critic of Pelosi and other “establishment leaders,” calling for the California Democrat to step aside from leadership.
Though Republicans did not clinch the majority in the general election, Pelosi cannot afford to lose any votes for her speakership from her own slim Democratic majority.
This is an interesting turn for a politician who hinted months ago about a potential power grab.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi raised the possibility that she might become acting president if neither President Trump nor Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins enough electoral votes to declare victory in the election on or after Nov. 3.
Pelosi, a California Democrat, told reporters Thursday that she is preparing House Democrats for a potential role in determining the winner with a vote by each state delegation.
But if a majority still does not emerge for either Trump or Biden, Pelosi said, “then it goes into another range where the speaker becomes the [president]. It’s complicated after that.”