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Boehner's Low Approval Rating Could Hurt Republicans In 2012

First Posted: 08/10/11 06:31 PM ET Updated: 10/10/11 06:12 AM ET

John Boehner

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) approval numbers have dropped significantly since taking on his leadership position at the beginning of 2011, according to a poll released Wednesday.

In the survey conducted by Public Policy Polling for DailyKos.com and the Service Employees International Union, 28 percent of respondents approved of Boehner, while 52 percent disapproved.

These numbers are sharply lower than his approval ratings from earlier this year, according to PPP's polls. According to PPP, Boehner began 2011 with 35 percent of voters approving of him and 28 percent disapproving.

The 2010 midterm elections saw Republican candidates from across the country running against then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democratic-controlled Congress. Republicans were rewarded with a net gain of 65 seats, which relegated Pelosi to Minority Leader.

Now House Speaker John Boehner has numbers that are on par with Pelosi's, according to PPP, which could help Democrats as they attempt to shift the balance of power in the House of Representatives again. In their survey, PPP found that 31 percent approved of Pelosi and 55 percent disapproved.

A recent CNN poll found a similar slide in the speaker's approval ratings. In that survey, 33 percent of voters approved of Boehner, and 40 percent disapproved, down from 43 percent approval and 33 percent disapproval in July. The same poll had Nancy Pelosi with a 31 percent approval rating and 51 percent disapproval.

The PPP poll also found the Democratic Party with a 7 point lead on the generic congressional ballot, 47 percent to Republicans' 40 percent. PPP has asked this generic ballot question 11 times going back to March of this year and the Democratic Party has come out on top in every survey.

The CNN poll found that only 41 percent of voters believe their representative deserves reelection, with 49 percent saying they do not deserve reelection.

This could all indicate another "anti-incumbent" wave similar to what happened in 2010. While the Democratic Party, still in control of the Senate and the White House, would suffer at the polls, it is likely the Republican Party would as well.

Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, says the survey's findings suggest that the Democrats have a chance at retaking the House next year.

"It's early -- but it looks very plausible that we could be back to Speaker Pelosi 17 months from now."

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