In this case, “18-year low” is a synonym for “all-time low” since they didn’t track the numbers before 1992.
There are five graphs at the link and all of them are worth studying, but I want to lay the one below in front of you. The media headline will be the party comparison, as the GOP now leads — barely, at 42/41 — for the first time since 2005. But that’s not all that exceptional: Yes, the Dems are usually on top, but they were roughly even during Clinton’s first term and Bush’s first term. ‘Twas impeachment and Bush’s second term that drove the GOP down. So far, so good (or bad).
This, however, is amazing:
Apart from a brief moment in 2005 when they were at net zero, not once in 18 years did the Democrats’ own favorable rating fall into negative territory — until halfway through last year, right around the time the great ObamaCare debate began. Follow the link to Gallup’s report and note how the trends in party favorables correspond to that. Among independents, the Dems are rock steady at 47 percent until last summer, when the bottom suddenly drops out; similarly, Republican support for the GOP was on a steady slide until precisely the same point, when it suddenly rebounded by 20 points in just three months. One of the great what-ifs for future historians will be what might have happened if The One had held off on O-Care and focused instead on jobs and, say, deficit reduction. Would that have cemented the sweeping gains made by Democrats in 2006 and 2008? Would it have increased his political capital to the point where he’d now be in position to ram through an even more liberal health-care bill? The choice to do what he did when he did it really was, as the man said, a big f***ing deal.