Poll shows voters concerned about Republican, Democratic leadership

by Jacob Fuller

Lauren C. Moye, FISM News

Neither Democratic nor Republican voters are sweet on their current party politicians or party directions, according to a new AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released on Valentine’s Day morning.

The poll questioned voters on both sides of the aisle on who currently leads each party, who should be the respective leaders, and how optimistic they feel about the future of the two main political factions. From the high number of “no answer” responses to the wide range of negative votes, the poll shows the public’s concerns with U.S. politics.

For example, the poll summary notes that “a third of both Democrats and Republicans are unsure of who they want to lead their party.”

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is viewed by less than half of the Democratic Party voters as their current party leader despite currently occupying the White House.


When asked who was the leader of the Democratic Party, 41% of respondents agreed that it was Biden. When asked who should lead the party, Biden again took the plurality lead, but with a significantly lower percentage of the vote, 12%.

Still, he posted a 7-point lead over the runners-up on who should lead. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tied in the second place spot with 5% of the vote each.

Perhaps what’s even more interesting is that only one of the second-place winners was named as being viewed as the current leader of the Democratic Party on the earlier poll question. Jeffries only received only 3% of the vote.

Even more remarkable, 27% of Democratic voters said they did not have an answer for who was currently the main leader while 37% could not name a person that they wanted in that role.

So despite responding that they generally had a favorable opinion of their current leadership — Democrats gave Biden a 78% favorable response, Vice President Kamala Harris 67%, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 66%, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer 54% — most Democrat voters are lackluster about their actual leadership.

This shows once more when Democrat respondents were asked to rate if they were optimistic or pessimistic about their party’s future. While the voters were generally more optimistic than pessimistic, 44% to 26%, nearly one-third said that neither label fit.

Biden is expected to announce his reelection campaign soon, after several recent speeches that had the appearance of political stumping. No other Democrat has announced a presidential bid yet.


The Republican Party isn’t in any better shape according to the poll. Of those polled, 38% of voters had no answer for who currently led the GOP, creating a 20-point gap over those who believed it was former President Donald Trump.

While Republicans had stronger opinions of who should be the leader, the numbers show disunity on how the party should move forward into the 2024 election cycle. The largest number, 22%, want Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to lead, compared to 20% who want Trump. However, once more the ‘no answers’ outweigh both with 34% of the vote.

While Republicans still have a favorable view of Trump according to 66% of affiliated respondents, there is less approval of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. This amounts to 36% for McCarthy and a low 21% for McConnell.

Of more concern to the GOP should be the 40% of voters who said Republican lawmakers do not agree on party values.

Only 38% of Republicans showed optimism for the GOP’s future while 36% said they were pessimistic and 24% did not answer either way.

The fractures shown by Republicans in the AP-NORC poll will most likely be visible as contenders begin to throw their names into the hat for the 2024 presidential nomination. However, it may present an opportunity for marketing messages.

For example, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, when making her presidential bid announcement earlier today, said that “it’s time for a new generation of leadership.”

Aside from Trump, Haley is the first Republican to formally announce her candidacy. She’s already used the ‘new generation’ phrasing multiple times since the start of the New Year.

Meanwhile, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) also appears to be preparing for his announcement after bringing on two well-known GOP operatives to co-chair his super PAC, Opportunity Matters Fund Action. Scott also has events planned in South Carolina and Iowa in the coming weeks.