Major Changes in Favorability figures ominous trend for Democrats

By Dave Andrusko

Gallup reported yesterday that “GOP Favorability Matches 2008 Pre-Convention Level: Democrats’ image ties GOP’s, but at two-decade convention-time low.”

While Republicans’ favorability ratings have improved somewhat since 2008, over the same period the numbers for Democrats have experience a gigantic drop (“cratered,” according to Ed Morrissey)–an amazing 24 points!

In 2008 the favorable/unfavorable for Democrats were 54/39. But according to Gallup the figures are now 43% favorable to 52% unfavorable.

Republicans, like Democrats, are under 50% favorability. But their ratings are at least heading in the right direction—from 41/51 in 2008 to 44/50 today, putting them ahead by one point.

Equally alarming for Democrats in general, President Obama in particular are the changes in party identification. (“D/R/I” stands for Democrats/Republicans/Independents.) Morrissey notes

“How has party identification changed since 2008? In a survey taken the week after the election, the D/R/I split was 33/28/37, but with leaners it was 51/40 Democrats.  In April 2009, it reached a peak of 53/34, a nearly 20-point spread.  Now, it stands at 29/26/42, with Democrats holding a 3-point lead at 44/41 when counting leaners.  Keep in mind that this is a general-population poll, not a turnout model, too.”

The results are from a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted August 20-22, prior to the start of the Republican National Convention  and two weeks before the Democrats’ convention. Gallup’s Lydia Saad concludes

“Regardless of how much the conventions affect the presidential election, both parties have some repair work to do with Americans, with their favorable ratings down significantly from where they stood through much of the 1990s and early 2000s. This is particularly true for the Democrats, whose current 45% favorable rating among national adults is among the lowest in Gallup trends since 1992. They had slightly lower ratings at points in 2010 (41%) and 2011 (42%), but their current rating is the lowest recorded on the eve of the national presidential conventions.

“The Republicans’ 42% favorable rating with national adults is also on the low side for that party, both historically and for convention periods. But it is at least tied with the pre-convention level in August 2008, and significantly better than the party’s ratings were in much of 2006 through 2008.”