Barnes falsely claimed Pelosi "is the most unpopular national politician in America"

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

In his latest column, Fred Barnes wrote that Nancy Pelosi "is the most unpopular national politician in America," ignoring recent opinion polls showing that President Bush, his vice president, his defense secretary, and the Republican leaders of both houses of Congress are far less popular than Pelosi.

In his column for the October 23 edition of The Weekly Standard, executive editor Fred Barnes wrote that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) "is the most unpopular national politician in America." However, recent opinion polls do not support Barnes's claim, and, in fact, show that President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) are far less popular than Pelosi.

In his column, Barnes wrote:

If politics were fair, Democrats would be in as much trouble as Republicans. And they'd be just as vulnerable. They've been obstructionist, anti-tax-cut, soft on terrorism, and generally obnoxious. On top of that, Pelosi is the most unpopular national politician in America. But in the sixth year of the Bush presidency, with a GOP-run Congress, Democrats aren't the issue. Republicans are.

As Media Matters for America noted when Fox News host Brit Hume said that Pelosi is "not a popular figure or respected figure nationally," an October 6-8 CNN poll found that 35 percent of respondents had a "favorable" opinion of Pelosi, compared with 26 percent "unfavorable"; 29 percent responded that they had "never heard of" Pelosi, and 11 percent were "unsure" how they felt about her. The poll's margin of error was +/- 3 percent. A recent USA Today/Gallup poll, also conducted October 6-8, found that the difference between those who viewed Pelosi favorably and unfavorably was within the poll's margin of error: 26 percent of respondents indicated that they had a "favorable" opinion of Pelosi versus 28 percent who answered "unfavorable." Nearly half -- 46 percent -- said they have not heard of Pelosi or formed an opinion of her. The USA Today/Gallup poll's margin of error was also +/- 3 percent.

Pelosi's "unfavorable" ratings, however, are far lower than those of many prominent national Republican figures:

  • Bush: According to an October 10-11 Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll, 54 percent of respondents had an "unfavorable" opinion of Bush, compared with 43 percent who had a "favorable" opinion. The October 6-8 USA Today/Gallup poll put Bush's "unfavorable" rating at 55 percent.
  • Cheney: An October 5-8 CBS News/New York Times poll put Cheney's "unfavorable" rating at 48 percent, compared with the 20 percent of respondents who had a "favorable" opinion of him.
  • Rumsfeld: According to a September 22-24 CNN poll, 50 percent of respondents had an "unfavorable" opinion of Rumsfeld, compared with 35 percent who viewed him favorably. Moreover, the October 6-8 CNN poll found that a majority of respondents (52 percent) thought Rumsfeld should be fired as defense secretary, and 48 percent thought he should resign (compared to 41 percent who thought he should not).
  • Hastert: The October 6-8 CNN poll found that 36 percent of respondents had an "unfavorable" opinion of Hastert, compared with 28 percent who viewed him favorably, 24 percent who had never heard of him, and 12 percent who were "unsure." The October 6-8 USA Today/Gallup poll also put Hastert's unfavorability rating at 36 percent, compared with 27 percent who viewed him favorably, 23 percent who had "no opinion," and 13 percent who had never heard of him.
  • Frist: The October 6-8 CNN poll found that 36 percent of respondents had an "unfavorable" opinion of Frist, compared with 28 percent who viewed him favorably, 22 percent who had never heard of him, and 14 percent who were "unsure."
Network/Outlet
The Weekly Standard
Person
Fred Barnes
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Progressives, Propaganda/Noise Machine, 2006 Elections
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