House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's Popularity Has Surged Since January

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The popularity of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has surged in recent months as he engages in important last-minute discussions with President Joe Biden about raising the federal debt ceiling, according to the latest YouGov poll.


Almost half (46 percent) of voters now say they approve of McCarthy’s performance, marking a notable 10-point increase compared to January’s figure of 32 percent. Meanwhile, approximately 36 percent expressed disapproval, a small improvement compared with the 37 percent recorded four months ago.

McCarthy’s popularity was drawn largely across party lines, with Republicans showing much higher approval of his performance compared to Democrats. The poll found that approximately 66 percent of self-identified conservatives viewed the speaker favorably, while only 26 percent of self-identified liberals shared the same sentiment. Among moderates, 41 percent held a favorable view of the speaker.

Among those praising McCarthy is Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who was part of the group of Congressional members who refused to nominate him. “He’s doing a good job,” he recently remarked. “I feel pretty good about the good faith that’s been shown.”


These latest poll numbers were released as McCarthy and President Joe Biden engage in negotiations to avert a potential default before an approaching deadline next month. On Tuesday, the two leaders, along with other congressional representatives, convened to designate members from both McCarthy’s and Biden’s offices to oversee the negotiations.

Speaking to the press on Thursday, McCarthy said that there had been minimal progress in the negotiations. However, the speaker later revised his statement, expressing optimism that a deal could be reached in the upcoming days, potentially leading to a House vote as early as next week. However, some analysts have questioned the feasibility of that timeline as both sides show little appetite for compromise.

“I see the path that we can come to an agreement,” McCarthy told reporters in the Capitol. “And I think we have a structure now and everybody’s working hard, and I mean, we’re working two or three times a day, then going back, getting more numbers.

The House Speaker refused to be drawn on details of the negotiations on the grounds that it could undermine their progress.

I don’t think it’s productive if you go write something and then everyone who is not in the room all get mad over things, I just believe where we were a week ago and where we are today is a much better place, because we’ve got the right people in the room discussing it in a very professional manner, with all the knowledge, all the background from all the different leaders.


The California Congressman also praised presidential counselor Steve Ricchetti and Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, both of whom are intimately involved in the negotiations.

I have the greatest respect for Shalanda and for Ricchetti. They are exceptionally, smart, tough, they are strong in their beliefs on the Democratic side, just as who we have in the room. They’re working through it in a very professional manner, seeing where we can be able to raise the debt ceiling, taking concerns of what the House has, and others, and put a bill together that will become law.


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