Former President Donald Trump and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy saw their approval ratings jump double digits in January, despite Republicans‘ rough start to 2023, according to a new poll.
Republicans in recent months dealt with several challenges—ranging from a weaker-than-expected midterm election, Trump’s ongoing legal woes, and a divisive leadership race that lasted for days when the new Congress reconvened at the start of the month. However, a new YouGov survey indicated that the GOP rebounded from these difficulties by mid-January.
The YouGov poll found rising approval ratings for Republicans across the board, including for the party’s high-profile leaders, as they seek to use their control of the House as a check on President Joe Biden.
At the end of December 2022, YouGov found the Republican Party as being unpopular with U.S. adults. The end-of-the-year poll found the party polling 14 points underwater with its respondents. While Republicans’ polling remains underwater, only 48 percent have an unfavorable view of the party now, compared to 44 percent who view it favorably, according to the poll, which surveyed 1,500 U.S. adult citizens from January 14 to 17.
Trump’s approval has also risen since late last year, according to the poll. Trump, like the GOP overall, had a disapproval rating of 14 points on December 31. The new poll found that 48 percent of respondents disapprove of him, while 45 percent of adults approve.
The rise in approval comes as Trump faces growing pressure in several legal scandals—including the Department of Justice‘s (DOJ) probe into whether he improperly took classified documents from the White House, and several investigations into his conduct surrounding the 2020 presidential election. The former president has continuously maintained his innocence.
Trump’s approval notably dropped after the November 2022 midterms, according to YouGov. Republicans only retook control of the House of Representatives by a narrow margin, and lost ground in the Senate. Some Republicans cast blame on Trump, who endorsed candidates who failed to win their races in key battleground states.
The YouGov poll found McCarthy, a California Republican, also finding a steady increase in his approval rating since the midterms. In a November 16 YouGov poll, McCarthy was 16 points underwater among U.S. adults.
The latest poll found his approval has grown, with 36 percent of respondents giving him positive marks compared to 37 who said they disapproved. The survey comes after McCarthy struggled to secure the speakership, with a group of right-wing Republicans withholding their vote in an effort to weaken his power.
However, after nearly five days of voting, he eventually won enough support to become speaker, though the House Republican conference remains divided on key issues including whether to impeach Biden administration officials that could shape the next two years of his speakership tenure.
YouGov Survey Also Delivers Good News for Joe Biden
While the poll found an increase in Republicans’ approval, Democrats could also find reason to celebrate the survey. Biden, who is up for reelection in 2024, led two of his top potential GOP opponents. He has not formally announced his intent to run, but has said he plans to, despite calls from some Democrats urging him against it.
In a head-to-head against Trump, Biden led with 42 percent of the vote compared to the ex-president’s 36 percent, the poll found.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis—who is seen as Trump’s top challenger in the GOP primary, though he has not yet announced his intent to run, polled stronger than Trump. DeSantis received only 35 percent of support compared to Biden’s 40 percent, according to the poll.
Newsweek reached out to YouGov, as well as Trump and McCarthy’s offices for comment.
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