Yesterday, I noted the numbers for the Donkeyfied Party, today I look at the Pachyderms.
Again using the numbers from Polling Report I took a gander to see how the Grand Old Party sails in the American eye. Here are the numbers, using the same polls:
The NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll says that 42% of Americans viewed the Republican Party as “Very Positive” or “Somewhat Positive” in January 1997. That remained at 42% in January 2000, and only climbed to 44% just after the 2000 election. April 2003 saw the Republicans rise slightly to 49%, and in September 2005 the Republicans are down to 37%. Compared to the Democrats, the Republicans in this poll started 5 points lower, pulled ahead in 2003, and now are even with the Democrats.
Then there’s the CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. In October 1997, the Republicans held a 50% “Favorable Rating”, reached 61% Favorable in January 2002, and in July 2005 owned a 46% rating (no newer data). During Bush’s time in office, the Republican Party has generally been above 50% Approval in this poll.
The ABC News/Washington Post Poll has a shorter timeline, starting in December 2000 at 54% Approval (10 points below the Democrats), but rising to 63% in January 2002, and sloping back down to 49% in June 2005, their lowest rating since ABC started tracking. This represents an eight-point gain in that time-frame.
The CBS News/New York Times Poll showed the Republicans at 41% Favorable in June 1999 (10 points behind the Democrats), rising as high as 58% in January 2002 (even with the Democrats), and staying near or above 50% since 2003. Their July 2004 number (last report) sat at 49%. This represents an eight-point gain for the party, and the absence of recent readings is interesting.
And finally, the Pew Research Center showed the Republicans at 52% “Very Favorable” or “Mostly Favorable” in January 1997 (8 points behind the Democrats), and as high as 59% in December 2002, their most recent report (5 points higher than the Democrats). The absence of recent data is interesting, and the thirteen-point gain by the Republicans is in line with a strong increase in self-identified Republican voters.
Note that only the NBC/WSJ Poll has asked about people’s opinion of either Democrats or Republicans in anything like recent weeks.