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A USA Today/Gallup poll released Wednesday says the image of the Democratic Party fell to 41 percent in late March, the lowest rating for Democrats since Gallup began tracking party images 18 years ago.
Republicans fare only slightly better, with a 42 percent rating, but the gap stood at 11 percent in September of last year and the large advantage once held by Democrats has vanished.
The images of the two major parties have particular significance in a midterm election year. For example, the favorable rating of the Democratic Party exceeded that of the Republican Party by 52% to 37% just prior to the 2006 midterm elections, in which the Democrats gained 31 House seats.
Americans’ current 41% favorable rating of the Democratic Party is five points lower than the party’s previous low, recorded twice in 2005.
By contrast, the Republican Party’s image reached its all-time low of 31% in December 1998 — just after the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Bill Clinton. The Republicans’ current rating is improved from a pair of 34% ratings Gallup measured in late 2008 and in May 2009.
Anyway you slice it, the news is not good for Democrats.