Despite predictions that the Democratic Party will lose the majority in the House, and despite the fact that many members of her own party are distancing themselves from her, Speaker Nancy Pelosi believes that she will keep her job in the next Congress. Her optimism bucks an increasingly negative view about her prospects that led one representative, Mike McIntyre, D-S.C., to predict that Pelosi wouldn't even run for Speaker.
“I have every anticipation that we will come together in a similar format as we are now with me as Speaker of the House,” Pelosi said on The Charlie Rose Show on Wednesday night.
Pelosi said that it would be “very difficult” for Republicans to win control of the House of Representatives, and declared that she “would rather be in our position right now than theirs.”
This may be wishful thinking. By some estimates there are nearly 100 Democrat-held seats in play, and the nonpartisan Cook Political Report predicts a net gain for the GOP of at least 40 seats; Republicans only need 39 to seize the majority.
But Pelosi remains defiant.
“Our members are battle-ready. Many of them have won two elections that were very tough elections,” she told Rose. “They won in very difficult districts in terms of Democratic numbers, and they know how to win those elections.”
Pelosi also noted that Democrats were only able to pick up 30 seats in 2006, when they had all of the momentum. So for Republicans to get significantly more than that, she said, would be a “tall order.”
It's hard to say how much of this outward determination is part of Pelosi’s never-give-up mentality. She alluded to this on Rose's show, saying, "Would you, if you were in a fight, if you were in the ring, say, 'What if I lose?' No. No, I intend to win."
While it’s clear that Pelosi is trying to galvanize her base, the interview comes at a politically tough time for her. A Gallup poll released on Wednesday found that Pelosi’s favorable ratings are at an all-time low of 29 percent, with about six out of 10 independents viewing her unfavorably.
As such an unpopular figure, Pelosi has figured into campaign rhetoric in congressional races across the country, becoming something of a boogeyman for Republicans. It’s gotten so bad that even members of her own party are campaigning against her.
Recently, Georgia Democrat Rep. Jim Marshall released an ad saying “Jim Marshall does not support Nancy Pelosi.” He and Bobby Bright, D-Ala., have both said they would not vote for Pelosi as Speaker next Congress.
This article appears in the October 21, 2010 edition of National Journal Daily PM Update.