At a time when the Republican Party’s image is at a historic low, 62% of the public says the GOP is out of touch with the American people, 56% think it is not open to change and 52% say the party is too extreme.
Opinions about the Democratic Party are mixed, but the party is viewed more positively than the GOP in every dimension tested except one. Somewhat more say the Republican Party than the Democratic Party has strong principles (63% vs. 57%).
This is important since when the sequester goes into effect this suggests the GOP has less of a safety net in terms of perception: Democratic charges about GOPers being out of touch, not caring about the average working people, the just-say-no House …all are more likely to stick. MORE:
The national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Feb. 13-18 among 1,504 adults, comes at a time when Republican leaders are debating the party’s future in the wake of Barack Obama’s reelection. The Republican Party’s image has been hit hard over the past decade. In January, just 33% said they viewed the party favorably, among the lowest marks of the last 20 years. The GOP’s favorable rating has not been above 50% since shortly after George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004.
An earlier release from the survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY found that while both party’s congressional leaders receive negative job ratings, just 25% approve of the job performance of GOP leaders, compared with 37% approval for Democratic congressional leaders.
The new report finds that while the Democratic Party is viewed more positively on most traits tested, opinion is divided about whether the party is out of touch with the American people: 46% say it is, while 50% it is not. And only somewhat more say the Democratic Party is looking out for the country’s future than say that about the Republican Party (51% vs. 45%).
This still makes the GOPs task in coming weeks more difficult. It’s task in 2014 tougher than the usual belief that it’s a virtual slam dunk for the opposition party to pick up seats. And 2016 looks are problematical if part of its party is trying to purge the party of Republicans who are more moderate and have high polling numbers in their home states.