In flawed comparison with Pelosi, LA Times article cited Gingrich's current poll numbers

››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS

In a June 12 article on a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, the Los Angeles Times compared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) approval rating with respondents' recollection of their opinion of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) when he served as speaker in the mid-1990s. The Times asserted Pelosi has "failed to impress many Americans. Only 36% approve of the way she is handling the job, the poll found. In contrast, 46% of Americans in the current poll said they approved of the way Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia handled the job after he led the GOP into the majority in 1994." However, the Times article did not report a key fact noted in the poll analysis: "[I]n his days as Speaker, Gingrich never got past 30% in overall favorable ratings."

The Times/Bloomberg poll, conducted June 7-10, asked respondents, "As you may know, Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House in the mid 1990's. Did you approve or disapprove of the way Newt Gingrich handled his job when he was Speaker of the House?" Forty-six percent of respondents said they approved strongly or somewhat of Gingrich's performance as speaker.

According to the poll analysis:

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, has a net negative rating -- 41% to 37%. In a January Times/Bloomberg poll, Pelosi received an overall positive impression from the public, 34% to 21%. In comparing Pelosi to former Speaker and Republican Newt Gingrich, who was Speaker in the mid 1990's, he received a 47% job approval rating, compared to 36% disapproving. But in his days as Speaker, Gingrich never got past 30% in overall favorable ratings.

A June 12 Bloomberg article on the same poll did report that Gingrich's approval rating did not exceed 30 percent when he served as speaker:

Even Republican Newt Gingrich, a widely criticized speaker in the 1990s, scored higher than Pelosi in the poll. Forty-six percent said they approved of the way Gingrich handled his job, and 34 percent disapproved, according to the survey, which had an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Gingrich received favorable ratings of 30 percent or less in Los Angeles Times polling while he was speaker.

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