The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The Democratic Party just hit a 30-year low

The Democratic National Convention (DNC)
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The Democratic Party is held in worse regard than at any point in the past 30 years, according to a new poll.

The poll, from the Washington Post and ABC News, shows 39 percent of Americans now have a favorable impression of the blue team, while 51 percent have an unfavorable impression. Both are new records.

Through it all, of course, Democrats continue to have a better image than their GOP counterparts, whose favorable/unfavorable split with the American people is currently 33/56.

But the Democrats' drop is particularly notable given they have never polled below a 46 percent favorable rating. (The data go back to 1984, including Gallup polls in the 1990s and CBS/New York Times polls in the 1980s.) That previous low for Democrats was registered during the 2013 government shutdown, when both parties and Congress hit what at the time was a new low.

The last time the Washington Post and ABC polled the Democratic Party, in August, 49 percent had a positive image of the party. Since then, its image his declined by 17 points among African Americans (from 82 percent favorable to 65 percent) and by 13 points among women (from 54 percent to 41 percent). As it happens, these are two of the most valuable Democratic-leaning constituencies that the party hopes will vote in high numbers in the Nov. 4 midterms.

As mentioned above, Democrats remain nominally more popular than the GOP. But the six-point gap in their favorable ratings has rarely been that small in recent years.

In addition, the GOP's poor image ratings have a lot to do with members of their own party being unhappy. Among independents, 33 percent view Democrats favorably, and 28 percent view Republicans favorably -- again, not a huge difference. And similar numbers have "strongly" unfavorable views of both parties -- 30 percent for Democrats and 29 percent for Republicans.

This is just one poll, of course, but it isn't the first to show a narrowing in views of the two parties. Both Gallup and NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls in April showed a 10-point gap in the favorable ratings of the two parties. Last month, though, NBC/WSJ showed a five-point gap and Gallup showed a two-point gap.

A big reason is undoubtedly President Obama's still-declining numbers. But for a Democratic Party hoping its voters are excited about turning out in the 2014 election, it isn't a good sign.