- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

As Republicans prepare to assume a new majority in the U.S. Senate next month, a new poll shows the GOP’s favorability at a five-year high, with the standing of the Democratic party trending lower in the wake of this year’s midterm elections.

Forty-five percent of Americans view the Republican party favorably, compared to 47 percent who view it unfavorably — the party’s best showing since the inception of the Bloomberg politics poll in September 2009.

The GOP has passed the Democratic party, which has a 41 percent/50 percent favorable/unfavorable split — its worst showing in more than five years.

Still, there are caution signs in the poll for the GOP as well. Forty-nine percent think Republicans have been more confrontational in the wake of the midterms, compared to 32 percent who think Democrats have been more confrontational.

And 55 percent believe Republicans are acting more out of antagonism toward President Obama, compared to 34 percent who think they’re acting more out of a deep belief in their vision of the country.

The numbers are essentially flipped for Mr. Obama, whose approval rating sat at just 39 percent in the poll. Fifty-four percent believe he’s acting more out of a deep belief in his vision of the country, and 36 percent think he’s acting more out of antagonism toward Republicans.

“This is a rising tide for Republicans while the tide has kind of gone out for the Democrats,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll. “Now that the midterms are over, it seems to me it’s incumbent on them to pivot for 2016. They’ve had a strong ride in beating up on Obama. Now, exactly how long is that the relevant message? People are eventually going to want to hear ‘We’re going to do this.’ They’re going to want to hear a positive message — not just ‘we have to stop Obama.’”

The survey of 1,001 adults was taken from Dec. 3-5 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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