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McCarthy's Favorability Rating Is Going Up, As Americans Support Debt Ceiling Plan Provisions

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

While it may have taken a little longer than House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) would have liked – something he joked about – he got the votes to become speaker. He also got his plan to raise the debt ceiling and cut spending, known as the Limit, Save, Grow Act, to pass the House, which so far represents the only plan passed to avoid default. Amidst such developments, the speaker's approval ratings seem to be doing pretty well. He even has a net positive, according to a recently released poll from The Economist/YouGov. 


McCarthy has a favorability rating of 40 percent, while 36 percent have an unfavorable view, among total respondents. Those numbers are even higher among voters, at 42 percent and 39 percent, respectively. 

The poll similarly asked respondents whether they approved of how McCarthy was doing his job as speaker. Forty-two percent of all respondents and 46 percent of voters approve of the job he's doing, while 34 percent of all respondents and 36 percent of voters disapprove.

Looking at previous polls, this is an all-time high for McCarthy. He went from a net -5 at the end of January, shortly after being selected as speaker, to a net +10 last week, for a net approval increase of 15 points, as the Interactive Polls Twitter account highlighted.  

Other than House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who has a slightly higher net positive for his favorability rating, McCarthy is the only other figure among a list of leaders with a net positive in that regard. 

This most recent poll was conducted May 13-May 16, with 1,500 adults and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent. 

RealClearPolitics (RCP) shows Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is the only figure with a net positive of +1.5, while Jeffries is tied and McCarthy has a slim net negative of -1.3. 


The poll was conducted as McCarthy and President Joe Biden, along with other congressional leaders, have been negotiating on the debt ceiling. There's been a growing sense of urgency – at least there should be – as the June 1 default date is fast approaching, though Biden had rebuffed McCarthy's attempts to negotiate for over three months while somehow claiming to be an "optimist." And yet, he still went to the G7 summit in Japan, though he's cutting his trip short.

Polling from the Senate Opportunity Fund shows strong support for the House Republican plan, including from all political ideologies.

Although McCarthy expressed he had wanted to be able to put together his plan with input from Democrats, it ended up being a partisan plan. Nevertheless, the speaker spoke about how he incorporated plans, including some from none other than Biden when he was a senator – specifically regarding work requirements for Medicaid or SNAP benefits.

Now Biden is singing a different tune in that he "wants to borrow more money from China to pay an able-bodied person – who has no dependents – not even to look for a job; or go to school for 20 hours." 


The Senate Opportunity Fund shows strong support for work requirements, including 66 percent of all respondents and a plurality of liberal respondents at 49 percent. That poll was conducted April 25-April 27, with 800 likely voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent. 

An Axios-Ipsos poll showed similar results, in that 63 percent of overall respondents support or strongly support "requiring Medicaid or SNAP benefit recipients to show proof of work to receive benefits," which includes 66 percent of independents, 49 percent of Democrats, and 80 percent of Republicans. 

That poll was conducted May 12-May 15, with 1,095 adults and a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. 

After communicating earlier in the week that he was not optimistic about debt ceiling negotiations, McCarthy seems to be taking a more positive tone. 

Further, it was recently revealed on Thursday that an agreement could be in the works, with the House voting first on it sometime next week and the Senate following suit. Considering that the Senate will be in recess, members have to expect to be called back. 


Editor's Note: America cannot afford to default on her debt. While House Republicans have acted, Joe Biden and the Democrats are refusing to negotiate. 

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