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

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.

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.

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., 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.

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Sept. 1-16, 2022, with a random sample of 812 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 75% cellphone respondents and 25% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Approval of Congress is trending upward and is now at its highest point in 2022, due primarily to improved ratings from Democrats.

Americans' 42% approval of the way President Joe Biden is handling his job is essentially unchanged since last month.

Twenty-one percent of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S., up from 17% in August and 13% in July.

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