A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Monday found growing disapproval of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
Forty percent of Americans hold an unfavorable view of Ryan, compared to only 22% who view him positively, according to the poll. The numbers represent a major decline in popularity since February, when Ryan’s net favorability was only one percentage point negative. The same drop in support is mirrored among Republican poll respondents, with net favorability falling from 49-points to 23 in the same period.
Ryan’s drop in popularity was more significant than that among the long-abysmally low rating for Congress as a whole. The percentage of those with a favorable view of congressional performance fell from 29 to 20 since February. The drop among Republicans was more significant, falling to a mere 31% from the high 40s.
This outpouring of disapproval comes after Speaker Ryan spearheaded the abortive effort to repeal and replace Obamacare with his own “American Health Care Act.” The bill had to be withdrawn for lack of support and drew criticism from across the spectrum of Republican politics. The perception of Ryan’s ability to deliver legislative victories in the House took a major hit in the aftermath of his health care bill’s demise, with some members of Congress calling for his replacement.
Other legislative initiatives have stalled under Ryan’s leadership. He has repeatedly stated that tax reform will likely to be possible only after the precarious health care situation is untangled. At the moment, the House is embroiled in a struggle to pass a budget to keep the government running, with contention over the funding of President Donald Trump’s signature border wall apparently stalling this often routine measure.
As Congressional Republicans approach the oft-discussed 100-day mark of the Trump presidency, Speaker Ryan is unable to point to any major legislative accomplishment. Negotiations are ongoing to revive the momentum for implementing the GOP’s agenda, but the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll suggests the electorate is losing confidence in the Republican leadership’s ability to do so.
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