-Kevin McCarthy has made a horrible first impression on the American public to the extent he has made an impression at all. 50% of voters say they have no opinion about him one way or the other, but among those who do have one only 12% see him favorably to 38% who have a negative opinion. That unpopularity cuts across party lines- he's at 14/33 with Republicans, 12/36 with independents, and 11/43 with Democrats.
Of course legislative leaders being unpopular is just par for the course. The departing John Boehner has a 21/64 approval rating and that actually makes him popular compared to Mitch McConnell who comes in at 14/64. McConnell's become so toxic to the Republican base that he's actually a little bit more popular with Democrats (17/59) than he is among voters in how own party (14/67).
One thing Congressional Republicans haven't helped themselves with recently is their war on Planned Parenthood. By a 12 point margin, 49/37, voters say they have a higher opinion of Planned Parenthood than the Republicans in Congress. That includes a 45/35 edge with independents.
Congress on the whole has its requisite atrocious approval rating at 11/82. Despite the Republican control though that doesn't have the electorate positioned to vote for massive change- the generic Congressional ballot splits evenly with each party getting 43%.
-Pope Francis wrapped up his American tour with a 63/16 favorability rating. Last week's Kim Davis drama doesn't seem to have hurt him any with Democrats, as he gets a 75/8 rating from them. He is mostly popular with independents (60/21) and Republicans (49/23) as well.
Kim Davis, on the other hand, is not popular with just about anyone. Only 14% of voters nationally have a positive opinion of her to 35% with a negative one. It's not surprising that she's at 11/46 with Democrats, but even among Republicans she is not well liked with 16% rating her favorably to 23% with a negative view.
The limited tolerance for Davis may speak to the country's belief that gay marriage just hasn't proven to be a big deal. Only 26% of voters nationally claim that its being legal has had a negative impact on their lives, compared to 74% who say it's either had a positive impact or none at all. Even among Republican voters, 57% say gay marriage being legal hasn't negatively affected them.
-There continues to be an overwhelming bipartisan mandate from voters for background checks on all gun purchases. Overall 88% of voters support them to only 8% who are opposed. That includes 93/4 support from Democrats, 84/11 support from Republicans, and 83/11 support from independents.
-Citizens United continues to be incredibly unpopular with the American public. Only 19% of voters support the decision to 57% who are opposed to it, and that opposition cuts across party lines with Republicans (24/46), Democrats (18/62), and especially independents (13/63) in opposition. Voters say by a 33 point margin that they would be less likely to vote for a Senate candidate who supported the Supreme Court's decision in the case- only 10% say that would make them more likely to back a candidate with that position to 43% who would be less likely to.
-Evidence continues to mount that the Affordable Care Act is just not a liability for Democrats anymore. Nationally we find that 42% of voters support it to 40% who are opposed. Those numbers are in line with what we've found in most swing states where we've polled on it over the course of this year. It's a far cry from when we used to consistently find voters opposed to it by a 10-15 point margin nationally and in key states. One big reason for the change is that Democrats (73%) are more unified in their support of it than Republicans (70%) are in their opposition to it. There isn't the sort of pro GOP intensity gap on the issue that there used to be.