- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The favorability of the Democratic party is now at an all-time low, according to Gallup, falling 6 points to 36 percent in the wake of the party’s losses in this year’s midterm elections and sinking below the favorability of the Republican party for the first time in more than three years.

Favorability of the GOP stayed relatively steady, ticking up to 42 percent from 40 percent, marking the first time since Sept. 2011 the Republican party has had a higher favorability rating than the Democratic party.

After President Obama’s 2012 re-election, Democrats were at 51 percent — the first time since 2009 either party had enjoyed majority support — and Republicans were at 43 percent.

But as Democrats’ favorability settled back down in the 40s, the Republican party’s favorability dropped to 28 percent during the partial shutdown of the federal government in fall 2013 — the lowest such rating for either party since Gallup began asking the question in 1992.

Some speculated the shutdown would presage a better-than-expected performance for Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections, wrote Gallup’s Andrew Dugan, but the Obama administration has since “made a number of political blunders, including the botched rollout of the federal government’s health care website; a series of international crises in Ukraine, Iraq and Syria; the Veterans Affairs hospitals scandal; and a criticized response to the first appearance of the Ebola virus on U.S. soil.”

“Whatever momentum the Democrats gained during the government shutdown was lost,” Mr. Dugan wrote. “The Democratic Party’s image stagnated as Republicans’ slowly improved, putting the parties at rough parity heading into the midterms.”

He went on to write that while neither party is making significant progress on improving its image with the U.S. population, the GOP now has an opportunity to shape the agenda in Washington, D.C., and state capitals across the country.

“The party could be on the verge of winning over a greater segment of the country or, not unlike the Democrats this year, could see its brand go into a free fall,” he wrote. “This will depend on what Republican leaders do in the coming two years.”

The survey of 828 American adults was taken from Nov. 6-9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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