The House Minority Leader, Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, has faced a growing chorus from within her own caucus to step down from leadership after a string of party losses. New polling indicates that while Pelosi is unpopular among the overall voting public, a majority of Democrats want her to remain right where she is.
Following Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff's defeat in a race for Georgia's sixth congressional district, several House Democrats attributed blame to Pelosi. GOP operatives had tied Ossoff to Pelosi during the Georgia race, prompting several party members to wonder aloud if the House Minority Leader was a political liability.
"The Republican playbook for the past four election cycles has been very focused, very clear: It's been an attack on our leader," Democratic Rep. Susan Rice of New York told The New York Times. "Is it fair? No. Are the attacks accurate? No. But guess what? They work. They're winning, and we're losing."
Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts has openly floated the idea of replacing Pelosi in order to wipe the party's slate clean.
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"This is certainly something that we have to discuss because it's clear that, I think, across the board in the Democratic Party we need new leadership," Moulton told CNN. "It's time for a new generation of leadership in the party."
On June 22, Pelosi dismissed calls for her to step down, citing her legislative expertise and ability to fundraise for congressional candidates.
"I think I'm worth the trouble," the House minority speaker said during a press conference.
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On June 28, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found that Democratic voters more or less agree with Pelosi. Only 27 percent of Democratic respondents wanted Pelosi to step aside while 41 percent said she should remain as a leader. The remaining 31 percent had no opinion on the matter.
The survey also found that 49 percent of Democrats viewed Pelosi favorably while 25 percent viewed her unfavorably.
While the survey indicated that Democrats are not ready to dump Pelosi, it also reinforced Rice's assertion that the congressional leader was damaging to the party brand. Only 21 percent of Republican respondents had a favorable view of Pelosi while 63 percent viewed her negatively. Meanwhile, 20 percent of independents approved of the House minority leader while 52 percent disapproved.
Chief Research Officer Kyle Dropp of Morning Consult noted Republicans disliked Pelosi far more than Democrats supported her, a significant problem for Democratic candidates vying in historically conservative districts.
"A common argument is that fervent Republican opposition to Pelosi is more potent than her lukewarm Democratic support," Dropp said. "The polling appears to bear this out: Just 16 percent of Democratic voters have a 'very' favorable opinion of her, while 49 percent of Republicans have a 'very' unfavorable one."