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GOP Leads On Image, Handling Terrorism, Nation's Prosperity

GOP Leads On Image, Handling Terrorism, Nation's Prosperity

Story Highlights

  • 44% have favorable view of Republican Party; 39%, of Democratic Party
  • GOP holds 20-point advantage on protecting U.S. from terrorism, threats
  • 51% say GOP better for ensuring prosperity; 41% say Democrats are

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' views of the two major U.S. political parties remain more negative than positive, but the Republican Party's favorability is now slightly better than the Democratic Party's. Both parties' images have shifted slightly since last year, with the GOP's favorable rating edging up four percentage points to 44% and the Democratic Party's rating slipping by the same amount, to 39%.


These latest party image ratings, from a Sept. 1-16 Gallup poll, buck the overall historical trend, in which Americans have typically viewed the Democratic Party more favorably than the GOP. Both parties' images have been largely negative in recent years.

Aside from a single 51% rating for each party in the past decade -- for the Democrats in November 2012 and for the Republicans in January 2020 -- neither party has enjoyed majority-level favorability in more than a decade. From mid-2006 through mid-2009, Democrats received consistently positive views from between 51% and 57% of Americans.

The latest favorable rating of the Republican Party matches the trend average since 1992, while the Democratic Party's current rating is 12 points below the 51% average and the worst since March 2015.

Partisans Hold Equally Positive Views of Their Own Parties

More than eight in 10 rank-and-file Republicans (87%) and Democrats (84%) view their own parties favorably. While Republicans' favorable rating of the GOP is essentially unchanged from last year, Democrats' rating of their own party has fallen eight points to the lowest reading of Joe Biden's presidency.

Since 2008, favorability among partisans has averaged 88% for the Democratic Party and 82% for the Republican Party.


For their part, independents hold equally low opinions of both major parties, as 34% view each favorably. While the Democratic Party has held an edge over the Republican Party among independents since 2008, this is the second consecutive year that both parties are at parity among this group.


GOP Maintains Advantage on Protecting Country and Ensuring Its Prosperity

Americans are significantly more likely to view the Republican Party than the Democratic Party as better at protecting the U.S. from international terrorism and military threats, 57% versus 37%. While both readings are statistically similar to last year's, the latest data represent the highest percentage recorded for the Republican Party. Since 2002, the GOP has outpaced the Democratic Party by an average nine points on this measure.


Nearly all Republicans (95%), 57% of independents and 12% of Democrats give the GOP the edge on protecting the U.S. from foreign threats.

At a time when Americans are worried about inflation and the nation's economy in general, the public sees the Republican Party as better able to keep the country prosperous, by a 10-point margin. The 51% of U.S. adults who believe the GOP is the better choice ties the highest on record for the party.


Ninety-four percent of Republicans, 47% of independents and 9% of Democrats give the Republican Party the advantage on keeping the nation prosperous.


Given that Americans have historically rated the Democratic Party more favorably than the Republican Party, this year's opposite finding may be of particular concern to the Democrats, who are trying to hold on to their House majority in the upcoming midterm elections. Yet, in the past, party favorability ratings have not proven to be strongly related to election outcomes, nor have the questions gauging party preference for keeping the U.S. safe from foreign threats and financially prosperous.

Rather, seat exposure and other key indicators, including presidential and congressional job approval, ratings of the economy and satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S., have been more closely linked to election outcomes. Whether these measures and other motivating factors for voters are strong enough to prevent the typical midterm seat loss for the president's party remains to be seen.

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