GOP followers not enthralled by GOP leaders

GOP FOLLOWERS NOT ENTHRALLED BY GOP LEADERS…. There have been quite a few polls recently showing that the Republican Party is likely to make significant gains in the midterm elections, but the party remains deeply unpopular nationwide. One new poll, however, shows the men who hope to be Speaker and Senate Majority Leader aren’t popular either — even with Republicans.

The Democrats’ campaign to keep John Boehner from becoming the next Speaker of the House may be resonating — with Republicans, anyway.

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds a majority of GOP primary voters think Boehner and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell should lose their leadership posts. Fifty-seven percent of Republicans say the congressional GOP needs new leadership.

Republicans are split on whether Boehner should win the Speaker’s gavel if the GOP retakes control of the House this fall. Thirty-three percent say he should, while 34 percent say he shouldn’t. Another 33 percent of GOP voters are undecided.

McConnell is in about the same shape. Thirty-three percent say the Senate GOP needs a new leader, while 27 percent think the party should stick with McConnell. A whopping 40 percent say they are “not sure.”

Now, I suspect some of this is the result of much of the public having no idea who John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are. Some of it may also be the result of the base looking for “fresh blood” — Boehner and McConnell, irrespective of merits, may very well be seen as the “old guard,” while activists look for more reactionary, radical leaders.

But whatever the motivations, results like these underscore some simmering divisions among Republicans. Boehner may very grab the gavel in January, but he wouldn’t exactly be riding a wave of “Speaker Boehner” enthusiasm — only a third of Republicans want him in the post, and in the silly “Young Guns” book, other House GOP leaders barely mention his name.

It’s too soon to say with certainty how the midterms will play out, or whether current GOP leaders have anything to worry about when it comes to support from their caucuses. But let’s put this in the “something to keep an eye on” category — if there’s a wave that sweeps new right-wing extremists into Congress, will they eye a new leadership team? Will the base, which is apparently calling the shots, start to demand it?