MEMO: #StandWithPelosi

TO: Interested Parties
Corry Bliss, CLF Executive Director
DATE: June 27, 2017
RE: #StandWithPelosi 


In preparation for 2018, Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) commissioned polling in 11 competitive congressional districts nationwide as it launches its national field program. While results pointed to different sets of key issues from one district to the next, we did find a common denominator: Nancy Pelosi. The surveys, conducted in the last 60 days and across eight states, all found Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s image underwater. This, coupled with the 2017 special election results, prove that Nancy Pelosi continues to be a huge liability for Democratic candidates.

Where it Matters: Pelosi and Her Agenda are Toxic  

Voters see a stark contrast between a House of Representatives led by Nancy Pelosi versus a House led by Speaker Paul Ryan. Across the country, voters strongly disapprove of Nancy Pelosi’s policies and the Democratic brand of extremist protests and out-of-touch liberal elitism. For example, in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, when asked, over 60 percent of voters preferred a member of Congress who would work with Speaker Ryan, while only 28 percent chose Nancy Pelosi.

National polls regularly show Nancy Pelosi is disliked not only by Republicans and Independents alike, but also among Democrats. The Washington Post reports:

Quinnipiac poll last month, in fact, showed exactly 50 percent of registered voters had an unfavorable view of Pelosi, versus just 30 percent who had a favorable one. Even among Democrats, about 1 in 5 (19 percent) didn’t like Pelosi. Additionally, independents were overwhelmingly anti-Pelosi, with 58 percent disliking her and 23 percent holding a positive view of her.

Unfortunately for Democrats, Pelosi is even more unpopular than those national numbers in many of the districts that matter in 2018. Further, out of the 11 districts CLF polled, all but one (MT-AL) are part of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s list of target seats to win next November. As Democrats eye the Republican delegation in Pelosi’s home state of California, polls show that in four of the seven districts Democrats listed as top targets have Pelosi’s image ranging from 44 percent to 52 percent unfavorable. Worse, in Nebraska’s Second Congressional District, Pelosi’s negatives jump to a whopping 60 percent. A breakdown by district is included below.

Numerous news organizations have highlighted how effective Republicans have been in using Pelosi’s unpopularity against the Democratic candidate since 2010. A few below:

The Washington Post: Pelosi’s image appeared in almost every ad run by Handel, the National Republican Congressional Committee and its affiliated super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund. It was reminiscent of the 2010 campaign, when she was House speaker, and her advisers estimated that more than $50 million worth of negative ads ran citing her. That year, Democrats lost 63 seats along with the majority. Seven years later, Pelosi remains a polarizing enough figure that she never appears publicly in a highly contested House race… 

The Washington Post: The outcome demonstrated that two political fundamentals remain true: Attack ads work, and candidates matter. Nancy Pelosi was a huge drag on Ossoff. The most prominent and effective hit on the Democratic candidate was to tie him to the congresswoman from San Francisco. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned closely with Ryan, spent more than $7 million in Georgia. 

The New York Times:That vague message, Democrats said Wednesday, was plainly not powerful enough to counter an onslaught of Republican advertising that cast Mr. Ossoff as a puppet of liberal national Democrats, led by Ms. Pelosi, an intensely unpopular figure on the right and a longstanding target of Republican attacks. But in a possible omen, the first Democratic candidate to announce his campaign after the Georgia defeat immediately vowed not to support Ms. Pelosi for leader.

CNN: Republicans’ ability to effectively use Pelosi as their bogeyman in Georgia was especially stark when contrasted with the Democrats’ tactics there.

Lessons Learned: #StandWithPelosi in 2018

Americans’ negative view of Pelosi is not about personality but rather the ideas, values and policies she represents. Voters associate Pelosi with higher taxes, bigger government, the failures of Obamacare and the dangerous Iran deal. The recent special elections continue to show that when voters learn about a candidate’s ties to Nancy Pelosi and her agenda – they reject it. It’s simple, Americans are tired of an out-of-touch and elitist Democratic Party led by Nancy Pelosi.


Both polling and several recent elections demonstrate that voters across the country do not support Nancy Pelosi’s liberal agenda. During the 2018 cycle, CLF will spend millions of dollars highlighting Nancy Pelosi’s toxic agenda and reminding voters across the country that Democratic candidates are nothing more than rubber stamps for her out-of-touch, liberal policies.