October 11, 2023
On October 3, Rep. Kevin McCarthy was voted out as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Republicans are divided over his ouster with 25% who approve and 30% who disapprove.
McCarthy was removed as Speaker after Congress narrowly avoided a government shutdown by passing a short-term funding bill that delays its fiscal deadline until Nov. 17. The public is split on whether the Democrats, Republicans or neither party would do a better job of handling the federal budget. But most people disapprove of how President Biden is dealing with the budget.
The public is evenly split on McCarthy’s removal, with 25% approving, 25% disapproving and nearly half neutral.
Most adults say the government is spending too much money overall. However, a majority of the public would like more funds allocated for education, Social Security, assistance to the poor, and Medicare. More than half say the government is spending too much on aid to Ukraine in the war against Russia.
Sixty-four percent of adults say the U.S. government is spending too much money, including 85% of Republicans and 47% of Democrats.
When it comes to foreign policy and national security, half say we are spending too much on aid to Ukraine in the war against Russia while half say we are spending too little on the border. Opinions on military spending are split.
Compared with Democrats, Republicans are more likely to say the country is spending too much on aid to Ukraine and too little on border security.
The public is more likely to say we spend too little than too much on education, assistance for the poor, Medicare, Social Security, and disaster relief. Democrats are far more supportive of increasing spending on Medicare and education compared to Republicans.
Even after being removed as Speaker, McCarthy is just about as popular among Republicans as Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Minority Leader. Donald Trump remains favorable to most Republicans, and more than half have a positive opinion of Ron DeSantis. About half of the public, including 56% of Republicans, have unfavorable opinions of Chris Christie. Many people have no opinion about Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, or Tim Scott.
Democrats tend to be more favorable about their party’s congressional leadership than Republicans. Half of Democrats have a positive view of Schumer, and 35% have a positive of Jeffries.
Two-thirds of adults disapprove of Biden’s handling of the federal budget, including nearly all Republicans. Americans are split on whether the Democrats or the Republicans would do a better job of handling the federal budget, though one-third say they trust neither party.
Public confidence in government institutions remains low. Half of adults have hardly any confidence in Congress. Republicans have more confidence in the Supreme Court whereas Democrats express more confidence in the executive branch.
The nationwide poll was conducted October 5-9, 2023 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,163 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.9 percentage points.
Suggested Citation: AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (October 2023). “The public is divided on McCarthy’s removal as Speaker.” https://apnorc.org/projects/the-public-is-divided-on-mccarthys-removal-as-speaker/