Today's Gallup Poll, "GOP Favorability Matches 2008 Pre-Convention Level," shows the pre-convention favorability ratings of the two Parties going back as far as 1992. For the very first time, the favorable/unfavorable ratios are now higher for the Republican Party than for the Democratic Party. For the first time ever, the Democratic favorability ratio, which has always been within the range of 1.20 to 1.56, is now below 1. It is a stunningly low .83, which is 31% lower than the prior Democratic Party low of 1.20, which was reached in 2004.
By contrast, the Republican ratio is now .88, which compares with the 2008 ratio of .80, which was that Party's lowest-ever ratio, reached at the end of the Bush Presidency. Prior to 2008, the ratio was 1.16 in 2004, 1.41 in 2000, 1.16 in 1996, and 1.36 in 1992.
Those figures compare with the Democratic ratios of 1.38 in 2008 (compared with the Republican .80), 1.20 in 2004 (vs. 1.16), 1.56 in 2000 (vs. 1.41), 1.50 in 1996 (vs. 1.16), and 1.42 in 1992 (vs. 1.36).
Under President Obama, there has been an unprecedentedly sharp and first-ever switch to preferring the Republican Party over the Democratic Party.
In fact, the damage that has been done to the Democratic brand under the Obama Presidency, going from a historically normal Democratic ratio of 1.38 in 2008, down 39% to the present .83, compares with the Republican fall-offs under George W. Bush's Presidency, which declined from the Republican ratio of 1.41 in 2000, down 18% to 1.16 in 2004, and then down yet another 31% to .80 in 2008, when the Republican Party hit its all-time (back until 1992) pre-convention low - which virtually doomed the campaign of Presidential candidate John McCain and made Obama's win almost inevitable.
The Democratic brand has thus suffered more (down 39%) under Obama than the Republican brand suffered under either of George W. Bush's two terms (-16%, then -31%).
Though George W. Bush did major harm to the Republican brand, Barack Obama is out-doing him, hurting even steeper the Democratic brand, which historically (until now) has always been higher-valued than the Republican brand, not just in these pre-convention polls, but for decades in Party-allegiance.
The fact that Mitt Romney is now merely tied with Obama suggests that the American people are profoundly dissatisfied with him as a Presidential prospect, because his opponent is already extremely damaged goods.
The prospects for a Republican takeover of Congress would appear to be unprecedentedly high on the basis of the Republican favorability ratio now being higher than the Democratic, for the first time ever: .88/.83. The last time that the Parties were this close was in 2004, when the ratio was 1.16/1.20 - a 3% Democratic edge then, as compared to the 6% Republican edge now, which is a history-making reversal of the two Parties' brand-values: Republicans at last on top as the more-valued brand.
George W. Bush drove Americans away from conservatism, but Barack Obama is even more rapidly driving Americans away from liberalism.
If the favorability ratios of the two Parties are added together, the 2012 total (.88+.83) is an unprecedentedly low 1.71. Earlier totals were: 2.18 in 2008, 2.36 in 2004, 3.07 in 2000, 2.66 in 1996, and 2.78 in 1992. The current 1.71 total is 22% below the previous all-time low of 2.18, reached in 2008. What this shows is unprecedented alienation towards the government.
A different Gallup poll, which showed the ideological schizophrenia of the American electorate, was analyzed by me at businessinsider.com on August 27th, under the headline "Americans Think Policies That Are Good For The Country Would Be Bad For Themselves." It seeks to explain Americans' political disgust, and the causes of voters' post-1980 increasing alienation from government, starting with Ronald Reagan's First Inaugural Address saying, "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Barack Obama is climaxing Reagan's work. That essay also explains the current Gallup Poll's finding of a plunge in favorability-rating of the Democratic Party, because it shows why this country has been moving politically to the right. However, the sharpness of that rightward turn since the start of the Obama Presidency is unprecedented. America is entering new political territory.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
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