Poll: Gaetz Disapproval Rises to 3 to 1 Following McCarthy Ouster
A new Florida Atlantic University poll shows Congressman Matt Gaetz losing support in the Sunshine State, with Florida voters disapproving of the firebrand Republican’s performance by nearly 3 to 1.
The findings published this week showed Gaetz struggling to maintain support among Florida voters in the wake of his successful ouster of then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his ongoing ethics investigation in the U.S. House.
The survey asked respondents, “Do you approve or disapprove of Representative Matt Gaetz’s performance as a member of Congress?” Only 21 percent of voters said they approve–including 12 percent who said they “strongly” approve.
By comparison, 46 percent of voters said they strongly disapprove, with 11 percent saying they somewhat disapprove.
Gaetz is currently above water with Florida Republican voters, but only by a narrow margin. The FAU poll found Gaetz with 36.6 percent approval among Florida Republicans, compared to 36.3% who disapprove. The majority of Independents and Democrats held a negative view of the Congressman.
Another 22 percent of respondents either responded “don’t know” or said they neither approved nor disapproved of Gaetz’s performance.
The survey did not indicate Gaetz’s approval within his Congressional district. Last year, he won his race with 68 percent of the vote.
The Race for Governor in Florida hasn't really started yet, but looking inside the numbers of our new FAU Mainstreet PolCom Lab Poll of Florida Voters, it looks like Matt Gaetz has a tough hill to climb. His disapproval even among GOP voters is high.https://t.co/uWEL1tYYAe pic.twitter.com/l6cUOneZU0
— Dr. Kevin Wagner (@KevinWagnerPhD) November 24, 2023
The Florida Republican has stood at the center of controversy since filing a successful “motion to vacate” last month, which saw Ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy ousted from the U.S. House’s top job. Gaetz’s motion notably led to weeks of chaos on Capitol Hill before ultimately leading to the election of Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana.
McCarthy has since gone on a media tour attacking Gaetz, repeatedly criticizing his performance and suggesting he should be removed from Congress.
“People have to earn the right to be here. And I just think he will admit to you personally he doesn’t have a conservative bent in his philosophy. And just the nature of what he focuses on,” McCarthy said in a November interview with CNN.
Asked whether the House should expel Gaetz, McCarthy told the network, “That’s up to the conference but I don’t believe the conference would ever heal if there’s no consequences for the action.”
McCarthy: "Matt Gaetz's ethics complaint…I think once that ethics complaint comes forward, he could have the same problem as Santos has." pic.twitter.com/Qq5gxbu4DU
— PoliticsVideoChannel (@politvidchannel) November 19, 2023
The survey also comes as Gaetz continues to face a probe from the House Ethics Committee relating to alleged sexual misconduct and illicit drug use. However, Gaetz has repeatedly denied the accusations, and federal prosecutors declined to bring charges following a six-year investigation.
“I am the most investigated man in the United States Congress. It seems that the Ethics Committee’s interest in me waxes and wanes based on my relationship with the speaker,” Gaetz said in a statement last month.
On Nov. 19, Gaetz continued to defend himself, saying the ethics probe is based on “lies.”
“The ethics complaint against Congressman Matt Gaetz emerged from a years old, anonymous, debunked New York Times story. Since then, Rep. Gaetz has been exonerated by the DOJ, the FEC, and through the criminal convictions of those spreading lies about him,” a statement from the Congressman’s office said.
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