Americans Have Spoken: Ocasio-Cortez Loses It After Unfavorability Rating Buries Her

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is thoroughly ensconced in Washington politics after taking office in January. That means that the plucky underdog narrative and the merrymaking on Stephen Colbert’s show is replaced with the drudgery of actually having to be a politician instead of a feel-good story.

When one is a combative socialist, the story also becomes even less feel-good, at least as polling goes. But, according to Ocasio-Cortez, the poll in question is just racist and reactionary. So clearly she’s taking this well.

Let’s start with the survey, which wasn’t good news if you thought the Ocasio-Cortez star was just going to keep rising without interruption.

“Two months into her new job on Capitol Hill, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become a much more recognizable figure to Americans,” read a news release accompanying the Gallup poll, released Friday.

“Half of U.S. adults were unfamiliar with or had no opinion of her in September after her seismic primary win over the summer, but that figure has shrunk to 29% today.

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“But the increased visibility has not improved her overall standing with Americans. Whereas the public had mixed views of Ocasio-Cortez in September, her image now tilts slightly negative, with 31% viewing her favorably and 41% unfavorably.”

In September, meanwhile, it was 24 percent favorable and 26 percent unfavorable, with 50 percent not having any opinion.

There’s actually some good news for Ocasio-Cortez in the poll:

“The Bronx-Queens representative’s start in Congress stands apart from her colleagues,” the release reads.

Do you approve of the job Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is doing?

“It’s rare to have a new member of Congress who is so widely recognizable by the public so soon in her career on the Hill. Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Elizabeth Warren each made big splashes when they were elected earlier in the decade — but even after each of their first 18 or so months in the Senate, most Americans had never heard of them or had no opinion about them. By contrast, Ocasio-Cortez is known by most Americans at this point, despite having only two months on the job as a House freshman. The only more recognizable member so early on was Hillary Clinton in 2001, who was already well known from the previous decade as first lady.”

However, Gallup notes that Ocasio-Cortez is “underwater among most groups.”

“Despite some increase in her favorable ratings, Ocasio-Cortez’s unfavorable ratings grew at a greater pace since September among most groups,” the release reads.

“The congresswoman is viewed negatively by most Republicans, of whom 73% have an unfavorable view of her — up from 52% in September. Only 5% of Republicans view Ocasio-Cortez favorably — resulting in a net favorable rating of -68 among this party group. The fact that Republicans are more likely to have an opinion of her than Democrats helps explain her overall net-negative rating.

“Ocasio-Cortez is also underwater in her net favorable ratings among men (-24), whites (-24) and adults aged 55 and older (-22).

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“On a net basis, Ocasio-Cortez performs best among Democrats (+41), of whom a majority (56%) now view her positively, and nonwhites (+20). Meanwhile, her net ratings are slightly negative among independents (-5) but slightly positive among women (+4) and Ocasio-Cortez’s own age cohort of adults aged 18 to 34 (+5).”

So, of course, what was Ocasio-Cortez’s takeaway?

Racist pollsters, subconscious bias and some claptrap about Fox News.

Cool. Thumbs up.

What the poll highlights is the fact that Ocasio-Cortez will have difficulty if she wants to transition to a truly national political figure.

As for her own seat, she’s pretty much safe for life; Republicans in her district are about as rare as bell hooks fans at CPAC and, given how she got the seat, it seems unlikely that she’s going to blow off future potential primary challengers.

However, if Ocasio-Cortez does want to transition into a leadership role or a higher office, it doesn’t matter where the approval or disapproval comes from. Votes from old white people, at least in polls, are worth just as much as votes from 18- to 34-year-old non-whites.

And as Gallup points out, her unfavorable rating grew “since September among most groups,” even if they still view her favorably. Nowhere do they say that older white people are “everyone” or that “everyone else is discounted as an exception.”

As for the “Fox News/AOC TMZ” argument, something tells me that isn’t the reason that her unfavorables are growing.

The Green New Deal’s rollout was roughly as disappointing as the Segway’s and even her own party seemed not to take it seriously.

Her performance in committee hearings has been spotty at best and has produced a few uproarious moments in which she tried to engineer a “gotcha” moment when, in fact, she hadn’t got anything.

She’s also under the misapprehension that the more people get exposed to democratic socialism, the more they’re going to like it.

As this poll makes clear, the opposite seems to be true.

Neither subconscious bias nor Fox News explains any of this. Americans have spoken and they’re not necessarily on board with what Ocasio-Cortez is selling. Instead of blaming the product, however, Ocasio-Cortez is blaming the consumer.

Apparently, she wants to go back to those halcyon days when it was all as easy as softball appearances on Colbert. For that to happen, however, she’d have to stop being an elected official.

I’d be willing to make that trade, although something tells me Ocasio-Cortez wouldn’t.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture