This Is The Number That Should Terrify Republicans
On Thursday, Pew released a new poll assessing the relative popularity of the two major political parties. Neither Democrats nor Republicans come off terribly well, but things are much, much worse for Republicans. According to the poll, the GOP is more unpopular now than it’s been in over two decades. According to the poll, just 33 percent of Americans view the GOP favorably, while 62 have an unfavorable opinion of the party. This translates to -29 percent approval rating, and yes, that is every bit as atrocious as it sounds: The last time the Republican Party was as hated as it is now was in 1992, and needless to say, that wasn’t a great election year for Republicans.
It gets even worse when you look at the historical trend. At this time in 2011, the Republican Party had a 42-51 favorability rating, which makes for a net popularity of -9. That isn’t great, obviously, but it’s not nearly as daunting of a situation as the party faces are now. The GOP’s popularity has steadily eroded over the last five years, and it hasn’t had a net positive favorability rating since 2008.
To be fair, the Democrats are also in the red. They have a net -5 favorability, with 45 percent of voters viewing the party positively and 50 percent seeing it negatively. But still, this is just a small fraction of the Republican Party’s mess.
Just as importantly, Democrats are not in the midst of a five-year tailspin. Unlike the GOP, the Democratic Party has had a positive approval rating at several points since 2011, the most recent being in July 2015. Democrats have generally oscillated between a +5 and -5 favorability rating over the last five years, and while that doesn’t imply resounding popularity across the board, it’s certainly better than the downward spiral the GOP currently finds itself in.
We can speculate endlessly about what accounts for this disparity. Is it because Republican lawmakers have roundly rejected compromise in the political process even though most Americans support compromise? Is it because the GOP hasn’t accomplished anything of note on the legislative level since President Obama took office? Is it simply because most Americans don’t agree with the Republican Party’s policy positions?
It’s impossible for anyone to say, but whatever the GOP has been doing for the last five years, it hasn’t been working. Americans simply like Democrats a lot more than Republicans, and given that there's a presidential election in less than six months, this should be cause for very serious concern inside the GOP.