Almost No One Knows Who Speaker Mike Johnson Is, But Many Disagree With His Views: Poll

Author: Christopher Wiggins

Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana faces a significant name recognition problem. Most voters have yet to form an opinion about the ultra-conservative Republican lawmaker because they just don’t know who he is. However, a substantial number disapprove of his conservative policy stances.

Johnson’s traditional ethos was solidified long before his 2015 political tenure, traced back to his time as a private attorney, where he notably opposed the expansion of LGBTQ+ rights. One such case saw him attempting to prevent a woman from adopting her wife’s biological son, an act reflective of Johnson’s earlier legal endeavors.

Before his political tenure beginning in 2015, Johnson was associated with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a group identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBTQ+ hate group.

Despite his vehement conservative stance on issues like reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and his loyalty to former President Donald Trump, the public seems largely uninformed about Johnson’s persona or policy positions.

Recent polling by Data for Progress revealed this name recognition issue, with 56 percent of voters stating they haven’t heard enough to form an opinion about Johnson.

Only 21 percent have a favorable view, while 23 percent view him unfavorably. The lack of awareness extends to his new role as Speaker, with merely 21 percent of voters having significant knowledge about his election to the position.

“Mike Johnson kind of came out of nowhere,” Danielle Deiseroth, executive director for Data for Progress, told The Advocate, emphasizing the “blank canvas” that currently exists for Johnson’s reputation.

She noted his record on LGBTQ+ issues and other policy stances as “largely out of step with what the average American voter believes,” especially concerning marriage equality and abortion.

When asked about allowing states to imprison individuals for gay sex, a mere 12 percent of respondents in the poll support the policy, while a whopping 78 percent oppose it. Similarly, an approach to imprison doctors providing abortions is supported by only 26 percent but opposed by 66 percent. The severity increases slightly with a policy proposition to punish such doctors with 1 to 10 years of hard labor, supported by only 24 percent and opposed by 67 percent. Lastly, repealing many of the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions finds only 24 percent support and 58 percent opposition. All of these are positions in which Johnson is in the minority.

Discussing Democrats’ strategy, Deiseroth suggested that with the 2024 elections on the horizon, there’s a substantial opportunity to define Johnson’s character. She drew a parallel to how Republicans depicted Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi as a villain throughout her tenure.

This discussion comes against the backdrop of a contentious socio-political landscape, where over 80 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been enacted in 2023, predominantly targeting transgender and nonbinary individuals. Amidst the upcoming 2024 presidential race, Republican contenders continue to rally behind anti-LGBTQ+ agendas, like a federal prohibition on gender-affirming medical care.

In another poll from Data for Progress, data showed the link between personal acquaintance with LGBTQ+ individuals and support for the community. Fewer than one-third of likely voters personally know a transgender individual, and about one-fifth know someone who identifies as nonbinary. This contrasts with the higher proportions of voters knowing someone who is gay, 69 percent or 62 percent who know a lesbian, and sets up an opportunity for progressives to stand on the side of expanding rights for marginalized communities.

“The Democrats are seeking to retake the House of Representatives, and there’s going to be a record amount of money spent in the 2024 elections,” Deiseroth said.

She anticipates a slew of advertisements from Democrats, highlighting Johnson’s extreme policy stances to expose the chasm between the Republican party and mainstream American values.

“I think we’ll see a lot of paid media advertisements from Democrats next year using Mike Johnson’s vote history and his policy stances as yet another example of why extreme Republicans want to restrict Americans’ freedom and personal economic freedom, social freedom, all freedom really,” she said.

Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Christopher Wiggins

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