It is no shock that most Americans, most of the time, disapprove of politicians and political parties. Thus, the task of a party is not to be universally beloved, but rather, not to be disproportionately disliked. Pew Research has some interesting numbers in this regard:
According to the poll, 45 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Democrats, compared with 52 percent who hold an unfavorable view. Those numbers mirror the Republican party exactly. The GOP also stands at 45-52 in those metrics.
So the current poll is in balance: both parties have plenty of supporters, but, consistent with our political culture, the supporters are outnumbered by the skeptics. Last year, when the Democrats scored well in the midterm elections, the numbers looked different:
Last September, ahead of the 2018 midterms, the numbers told a different story. Fifty-three percent of Americans had a favorable opinion of Democrats prior to the election, compared to 42 percent who had an unfavorable opinion. Republicans, meanwhile, boasted just a 43 percent favorable number, with 52 percent unfavorable.
No wonder the Dems had a good year. They were +11, while the Republicans were -9–a remarkable 20 point gap. This year, the gap is zero, as both parties (in the Pew survey, anyway) come in at -7.
Assuming that poll is not a random outlier, does it mean the Republicans should do considerably better next year than in 2018? Certainly, except to the extent that things change in the next 14 months.
It is remarkable that voters can have identical views of the two parties, in terms of approval/disapproval, when all of the organs of our culture are devoted, every hour of every day, to tearing down Republicans and building up Democrats. You might almost think that no one cares what newspaper reporters, TV anchormen, Hollywood actresses, tech executives, Instagram stars, college professors and late night “comedians” think about politics.