Republican Party Favorability Rating Sinks to Record Low

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By Glynn Wilson

While the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is engaged in a tense, government-shuttering budgetary standoff against a Democratic president and Senate, the Republican Party is now viewed favorably by only 28 percent of Americans, down from 38 percent in September, the lowest favorable rating measured for either party since Gallup began asking this question in 1992, according to the latest survey on the subject.

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The Democratic Party also has a public image problem, according to Gallup, but not on the same “elephantine” scale as that of the Republican Party. Now 43 percent view of the American public view the Democratic Party favorably, down four percentage points since September.

More than six in 10 Americans, 62 percent, now view the Republican Party unfavorably, a record high. By comparison, nearly half of Americans, 49 percent, view the Democratic Party unfavorably.

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Roughly one in four Americans view both parties unfavorably.

Republicans More Likely to See Own Party Unfavorably

Self-identified Republicans are more than twice as likely to view their own party unfavorably, 27 percent, as Democrats are to see their own party unfavorably, 13 percent.

The Republican Party’s unfavorable rating among Republicans is up eight points from September, compared with only a one-point rise in Democratic Party unfavorables among Democrats.

“These findings may be consistent with the widely circulated narrative that the Republican Party is internally splintered on how best to handle the budgetary negotiations,” Gallup says in its analysis of the numbers.

Independents, meanwhile, remain unimpressed with both parties, according to Gallup, with 32 percent viewing the Democratic Party favorably and 27 percent viewing the Republican Party favorably.

Gallup’s Implications

“As the two major political parties are locked in a high-stakes political imbroglio that has resulted in a government shutdown and may cause the first-ever default on the national debt, Americans are more likely to view both parties negatively than positively,” Gallup says. “The Republican Party is clearly taking a bigger political hit from Americans thus far in the unfolding saga, with 28 percent rating the GOP favorably — a loss of 10 points from only a month ago.”

This contrasts with previous Gallup findings from just before the government shutdown showing the Republican Party making up ground on a few key issues.

“Thus, the Republican Party’s current strategy in the fiscal debates may not be paying dividends,” Gallup concludes.

“For their part, the Democratic Party has also seen its favorability rating drop since September, though by a smaller four points,” Gallup says. “Moreover, both parties are down from where they were just after the 2012 elections, indicating the many political battles of 2013 have had a corrosive effect on the two parties’ images.”

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 3-6, 2013, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 1,028 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

© 2013, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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