Sorry, Ronna McDaniel, Republican Voters Just Aren't That Into You

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Earlier this week, Convention of States, in partnership with the Trafalgar Group, released a poll showing that Republican voters have a dim view of party leaders in Congress and at the Republican National Committee (RNC). More than two-thirds indicated that both groups were ineffective in getting GOP candidates elected in the 2022 midterm. An even larger share, 73.5%, said they want RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel replaced.


Ordinarily, this might have required a bit of public relations spin and a few empty promises from congressional and party leaders to calm the masses. However, not a lot has been “ordinary” since the escalator incident in 2015. It appears Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had to make meaningful concessions about House rules and committee assignments to begin to approach a majority consensus and become Speaker of the House. And McDaniel faces a serious challenge for RNC Chair from Civil Rights Attorney and RNC Board Member Harmeet Dhillon.

That may be why McDaniel seemed sensitive to the poll results when she appeared on Newsmax’s Wake Up America this morning. The interview started with McDaniel and host Rob Finnerty discussing the speaker election and her support for McCarthy. She said she believes the American people want the party to get together to “stop the insanity of the border,” “take on the 87,000 IRS agents,” and avoid another Omnibus.

To be fair to the dissenters in the Freedom Caucus, part of their demands had to do with the appropriations process. Republicans are still a minority in government because Democrats hold the Senate and the presidency. One tool they have to force change is how the government is funded. The Freedom Caucus wants small appropriations bills for each agency, not 4,000-page Omnibus packages like the recent one McDaniel criticized.


Related: A Significant Majority of Republican Voters Agree With the GOP Rebels

Without the rules changes and people willing to enforce them on key committees, there is nothing to prevent another one and no leverage to fix the border or trim the new IRS staff from the budget. And it will be a year before the Republicans in the House even have a chance, thanks to the 18 Senate Republicans who teamed up with Democrats to pass a $1.7 trillion bill to find out what is in it.

Related: Don’t Buy the Establishment’s Spin on the House Speaker Fight

When the subject of the RNC election came up, Finnerty pointed out that no one has ever run for a fourth term before. Then he pointed out the poll results from earlier this week and asked McDaniel to respond. “That’s a junk poll,” she said. “And it’s done in a junk way. You can make a poll say anything.” McDaniel asserted the most important poll would be the vote among members of the RNC, claiming they reflect the opinion of the grassroots.

When Finnerty challenged her about calling the results a “junk poll,” she asserted it was done at a Convention of States meeting and among a handpicked audience. “If you look at the metrics on that poll, it’s just not real.” When Finnerty asked her if she could deny the opposition was real, McDaniel accused her opponent Dhillon of pushing “misinformation and lies.”


After hearing her comments, Convention of States president Mark Meckler shot back in a statement, “RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel’s comments this morning on Newsmax criticizing our poll were patently false. We’ve watched politicians vote on bills without reading them, and similarly, McDaniels has criticized our poll without actually having read it. Anyone can clearly see it was not conducted at a convention, and is not a ‘handpicked sample,’ but rather is a nationwide, scientific poll conducted by one of the most reliable and respected pollsters in America, The Trafalgar Group.”

According to Trafalgar’s website, the poll surveyed 1,078 people between Dec. 17 and 22, utilizing the firm’s methodology. This includes live callers, integrated voice response, text messages, emails, and two other proprietary digital methods they don’t share. The pollster even shares the top-line responses and demographics along with the question wording. The question for the results McDaniel disputes reads, “Do you think that the current Republican National Committee chairperson should be reelected, or should the party look to new leadership?”

Meckler continued, “Making statements without doing the research and fully understanding what you’re talking about is part of the Washington way of doing things that we have to change. We conduct polls through our partners at The Trafalgar Group to take the temperature of the American people so we can understand where they stand on the leading issues of the day. Convention of States is a vast grassroots movement that represents the interests of the American people, not DC insiders. McDaniels has made it clear she doesn’t care about their opinions, but we do.”


The same poll indicated that a plurality of Republican voters, 44%, say they are less willing to donate to the Republican Party and Republican candidates, and almost 43% say they aren’t sure. Only 13.2% said the 2022 performance made them more willing to donate directly to the party. The proof will be in the coffers. But dismissing the feedback in the poll from real grassroots voters, not their RNC surrogates, might not be the best strategy.



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