…there are indeed two sides to the Gingrich story. The 104thCongress remains an important milestone in the history of American conservatism, in that it fought for welfare reform, tax cuts, and a balanced budget, and won reelection in 1996 based on this record. Much of the credit goes to Gingrich, who – unlike many of his fellow Republican House colleagues in the 1970s and 1980s – was never happy with life in the minority. He held fast to a view that for decades was simply “outrageous:” the House could tip Republican, and it could take a lead role in national reforms.
And yet, his approval numbers while he was in charge of the House were dreadful. Gallup found his net favorable rating in negative territory by the early spring of 1995 (33 percent approve to 47 percent disapprove, or a 14 point net negative), and at the end of 1995 his net negatives would exceed 25 points, where they would remain for the rest of his tenure.