Voters’ opinions of the Republican Party are now at an all-time low. According to a new WSJ/NBC poll (PDF), Americans’ esteem for the Republican Party is at the lowest level ever found in the 21 years they have asked the question. When asked to rate their feelings about the Republican Party the results were:
WSJ/NBC (PDF) (8/5-9)
Opinion about Republican Party
Very Positive 6
Somewhat Positive 18
Somewhat Negative 24
Very Negative 22
The American people have a significantly lower opinion of the Republican Party now than they did at the height of the the 2006 or 2008 elections in which Democrats made large gains. Fortunately for Democrats, while popular opinion about the party has taken a beating, voters still view it more positively than they do the Republican Party. The Democratic Party rated total positive 33 percent to total negative 44 percent, while the Republican Party had total positive 24 percent to total negative 46 percent.
If Republicans fail to make massive gains this year while there are extremely high unemployment rates, it will probably be due to how damaged their brand remains. Even if people are upset with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party is currently seen as a very poor alternative.
On the other hand, if Republicans do make huge gains and take control of the House, it will be an impressive display of Democratic Party failure over the past two years and a demonstration of how damaging a bad economy is for the incumbent party. Democrats should be seriously re-examining their current legislative, policy, and political strategy. They need to ask themselves how they could possibly be losing in the generic ballot to a Republican Party that voters hold in historically low regard.