Poll: Americans Want New Democratic Leadership

New survey finds desire for fresh faces in top Democratic spots, support for Russia probe

From left, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., prepare for a education-related news conference in the Capitol on May 22. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

More Americans want new Democrats in power next Congress, a recent poll found.

More than twice as many respondents to this week’s Economist/YouGov poll said they would prefer another Democrat lead the party in the House than current leader Nancy Pelosi. Fifteen percent backed Pelosi compared to 32 percent who chose “some other Demorat.” A further 29 percent were not sure and 25 percent said they didn’t care. 

Pelosi has said she plans on staying in leadership if Democrats win back the chamber in November. The California Democrat cited Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016 as a reason for her staying on. 

“It’s important that it not be five white guys at the table, no offense,” she said. “I have no intention of walking away from that table.”

The respondents’ preference for new leadership was noticeable on the Senate side as well, albeit by a smaller margin. Twenty-four percent of those polled chose “some other Democrat” to lead the party in the chamber to 17 percent who backed current leader Charles E. Schumer.

While Schumer has not explicitly said whether he wants to continue as leader next session, his predecessor, Harry Reid, led the Senate Democratic Conference for 12 years, from 2005 to 2017. 

Respondents weren’t satisfied with either party in Congress but they were clear on which side they blamed for lawmakers achieving less than usual this session. Forty-seven percent said Republicans were more to blame, 17 percent picked the Democrats and 30 percent blamed both parties. 

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is overseeing the Russia investigation, got mixed reviews. But nearly half — 48 percent — of respondents said President Donald Trump should not fire him, while 16 percent said he should be let go.

Forty-eight percent said they didn’t believe Trump was getting framed by the FBI and Department of Justice, compared to 28 percent who said he was. The president has repeatedly described the Russia probe as a “witch hunt” and has criticized Mueller and others for continuing the “rigged” investigation.

Thirty-six percent of respondents agreed with Trump, calling the inquiry a “witch hunt,” while 46 percent said it was a legitimate probe.

On Tuesday, Trump predicted on Twitter that “13 Angry Democrats,” along with Obama administration officials, who’re “working on the rigged Russia Witch Hunt,” would interfere with the midterm elections. 

The poll surveyed 1,500 U.S. adults from May 27-29 through web-based interviews and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. 

The Economist Group is the parent company of Roll Call.

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