The deluge of bad news for Democrats on the polling front extends beyond state-level surveys. The “fundamentals” continue to favor Republicans, but this latest revelation is sure to have every intellectually honest Democrat quaking.
According to Gallup, the Republican Party’s brand is rebounding at a phenomenal rate. Since bottoming out in the wake of the government shutdown in October, 2013 (at 28 percent), the GOP’s favorability rating has improved by 12 points. The Democratic Party’s favorability rating is now a statistically negligible 2 points stronger than that of the Republican Party.
This should, and likely will, worry Democrats considerably. The public image of the president’s party has been growing more negative since the summer of 2013 while the Republican Party’s image has been steadily improving. What’s more, the Democratic brand – which has historically been favored by the general public — is close to bottoming out:
* Americans have typically rated the Democratic Party more positively than the Republican Party since the question was first asked in 1992, so the current parity between the two is a positive sign for the GOP and a negative one for the Democratic Party. Indeed, current opinions of the Democratic Party are among the worst Gallup has measured in the past 20 years. The only time Gallup measured a lower favorable rating for the Democrats was 41% in late March 2010, just after Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law.**
At 36 to 35 percent respectively, Independent voters narrowly hold a more favorable view of the GOP than they do the Democratic Party.
The GOP in Congress has helped to repair its own image, largely by avoiding costly and prolonged internal squabbles which indicate to the public that the party is not prepared to govern. Democrats can hardly contain their dismay:
The Republicans managed to keep the government from shutting down… *slow clap* https://t.co/i8fc6R9erZ
— DCCC (@dccc) September 18, 2014
This is nothing but good news for Republicans and nothing but bad news for Democrats. So, how did the mainstream press report this shocking development?
“Democrats, Republicans Equally Unpopular,” read a US News and World Report headline.
“Republicans and Democrats are now in the same rocky boat. The GOP has caught up with its opposition in favorability ratings, but neither side has much to brag about,” Kenneth Walsh wrote. “The latest Gallup poll, released Thursday, finds that neither major party is very popular, but they are now roughly at parity after a lengthy period in which polls showed a considerable Democratic advantage.”
So, the collapse of the Democratic brand and the rebirth of the GOP’s is bad news for everyone? Sure thing.
What about Politico? “Dems, GOP in unfavorability tie,” their headline read.
“Americans have had a net negative view of both parties for much of the past four years,” their dispatch read. “Despite their party’s slightly worse rating, the survey is perhaps better news for Republicans, who have largely rebounded from the their [sic] public relations disaster during the October 2013 government shutdown.”
Hell, at least these two outlets reported on this development. The silence elsewhere in the realm of political reporting is positively deafening.