- The Washington Times - Monday, August 5, 2013

What’s Nancy Pelosi doing right?

While the other top congressional leaders are fading, the House minority leader and former speaker is on the rise, according to the latest Quinnipiac University Thermometer poll, which shows the California Democrat is gaining popularity as one of the nation’s top political figures.

The “warmth rating” for Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, has tumbled from more than 51 in 2011 to less than 37 since he ascended to the top House job. The rating for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, has slid 1 point, and the number for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, has dropped more than 7 points.

PHOTOS: Nancy Pelosi quietly raises popularity rating

Mrs. Pelosi defies the trend, rising from 32.9 to 38.4 and going from last to first among the four congressional leaders.

“She’s keeping her head down and her caucus focused as the House Republicans self-destruct before our eyes,” said Jim Manley, a senior director at Quinn Gillespie & Associates who was a longtime aide to top Senate Democrats.

Quinnipiac’s poll, which asks voters to rate politicians on a scale of zero to 100 based on how warm they feel toward the person, underscores the self-destruction.

Mr. Boehner’s slide of more than 14 points eclipses the combined drops for Mr. Reid, from 34.8 to 33.8, and Mr. McConnell, from 45.2 to 37.5.

The low ratings are nothing new. Poll after poll shows voters unhappy with Congress.

Indeed, Congress left town last week for a five-week summer recess having accomplished little in July.

Despite being in session for more than 100 hours during the July work period, the Senate passed just one of its own bills, though it did clear eight House bills.

The House didn’t pass a single Senate bill in July but cleared 26 of its own.

House Democrats’ campaign arm began running radio ads this week blasting their Republican counterparts for leaving for “a five-week taxpayer-funded vacation.”

Mrs. Pelosi remains the best-known of the congressional leaders — almost all voters had an opinion about her — but also the most polarizing.

While Democrats give her a 64.2 percent warmth rating, the best among the four leaders, self-identified Republicans score her at 19.8, the lowest of the group.

Mr. Obama tops all of the congressional leaders at 47.6 percent, though that, too, is a tumble from the lofty 56.5 he notched two years ago, as he was in the middle of sparring with Mr. Boehner over spending.

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