Majority Have No Opinion of Nanci Pelosi

Jonathan Singer points to a new poll that shows why the Republican tactic of tying Democratic challengers for the House to Minority Leader Nanci Pelosi isn’t working:

The Quinnipiac survey shows that a 53 percent majority of Americans aren’t familiar enough with Pelosi to form an opinion about her, the same amount as are unfamiliar with Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist. Close to two-thirds of Americans (65 percent) don’t know much about Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid while no numbers were available for either House Speaker Denny Hastert or House Republican Leader John Boehner.

These numbers are high but the overall trend doesn’t surprise me. Aside from political junkies, most Americans just don’t pay particularly close attention to American politics. The Congress simply has too many key figures in it to easily follow; that’s one reason presidents are so dominant despite much less Constitutional power.

While the prospect of Majority Leader Pelosi may be frightening to hard core Republicans, it’s meaningless to most Americans. And even more so to people who are simultaneously voters and not already strongly predisposed toward one party. The GOP would be better served emphasizing known, scary Democrats (Teddy Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Barney Frank, and the like) who would assume important committee chairs.

Note: This particular survey was of registered voters. Presumably, likely voters would have somewhat better cognizance of the major Congressional leaders.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2006, Congress, Public Opinion Polls, US Constitution, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bandit says:

    Barney Frank? My guess is he’s less well known than Pelosi and only for being gay.

  2. Stormy70 says:

    Political junkies are the people who vote in the midterm elections. It is all about getting your various junkies to the polls on election day. I don’t think this poll is worth very much.

  3. dom says:

    Similarly, I thought the recent GOP “fact sheet” about Kos was pretty silly…my hunch is that even if I only polled people who knew who Nancy Pelosi is, only a fraction of those would know Kos.

  4. If the idea is to run national TV spots, I would tend to agree that it is not likely to be effective. But the GOTV efforts tend to be most effective when done on a retail level and these can be a great opportunity to us the Speaker Pelosi meme. Of course even in the GOTV effort, you wouldn’t want to use Speaker Pelosi as a one-size-fits-all motivator. But for getting the hard core base who are disappointed with the GOP majority in Congress, this ain’t a bad tool to use.

  5. Wayne says:

    If someone puts in an ad that Democrats votes 98 plus % of the times with Democrats even those that say they will be independent during their campaigns then show some of the comments by Democrats leaders such as Pelosi saying they will impeach Bush if Democrats win control of House, it can have an affect.

  6. andrew says:

    “53 percent majority of Americans aren’t familiar enough with Pelosi to form an opinion about her”

    What percentage of this 53% don’t vote or rarely vote? If you don’t know who she is it stands to reason that you don’t pay that much attention to politics. In other words, the type of people who rarely/never vote.