A year ago at this time, almost no one outside of New York City – and even lots of people inside New York City – had ever heard the name Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Now, the 29-year-old freshman House member is known by almost six in 10 Americans (59%), according to newly released CNN poll numbers.
Rarely in national politics have we seen anyone fly so high so quickly. It’s been only 223 days since June 26, 2018 – when the self-professed democratic socialist running her first race for office beat 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley – until today. In that relatively short period, Ocasio-Cortez has become both the star of the liberal left and the scourge of the conservative right.
Her poll numbers reflect that deep division: 27% have a favorable view of AOC, while 32% have a negative one. Three in 10 people (31%) have never heard of her and 10% didn’t know enough to offer an opinion.
So, 41% of people either don’t know or don’t know enough about Ocasio-Cortez to offer an opinion. Here’s how AOC stacks up against other major political figures we tested in the poll:
People who haven’t heard of or have no opinion on:
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 41% (31% never heard of/10% no opinion)
- Stacey Abrams: 61% (45%/16%)
- Nancy Pelosi: 11% (5%/6%)
- Mike Pence: 20% (12%/8%)
- Mitch McConnell: 28% (16%/12%)
All these people – with the exception of Abrams – have been MAJOR figures in national politics for decades. And while Ocasio-Cortez isn’t as well-known as any of the political veterans, she’s not all that far behind the freaking Senate majority leader, who was first elected in 1984! (That’s five years before AOC was even born!)
(Sidebar: How do one in five people say they either have never heard of the Vice President of the United States or don’t know enough about him to offer an opinion? HOW is that possible, people?)
The Point: AOC is already one of the most recognizable Democrats in the party nationally. And she’s been a member of Congress for all of a month. Amazing.