No doubt about it, the Democratic Party had themselves a hell of a night on Tuesday, picking up several seats in the Virginia legislature, breaking records with new and increasingly diverse victories around the country, winning back governorships in New Jersey and Virginia, and generally running roughshod over their Republican opponents. But if you can forgive Democrats for celebrating one of their increasingly-rare winning nights this week, they may want to pay close attention to a new CNN poll that has the party with its lowest favorability rating in 25 years. Tuesday night may have been a big victory for them, but the numbers show they are a long way from winning over the hearts and minds of the American public as a whole.
The poll, presented by CNN and conducted by SSRS, shows that only 37% of Americans now have a favorable opinion of Democrats, down a startling seven points since March. 54% now have a negative view of the party, which nails the party to their worst numbers since 1992.
CNN has the breakdown of the survey:
The rating includes low favorable ratings from some core Democratic groups, including nonwhites (48%) and people under 35 years old (33%). The numbers come amid recent feuds and divisions in the Democratic Party, as former interim chair Donna Brazile’s new book has unveiled new questions about infighting during the 2016 presidential campaign.
There are more warning signs for Democrats in this poll. Overall, 36% of registered voters who identify as Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting next year, down from 44% who said so in September. That puts Democratic enthusiasm on par with that of Republicans, which stands at 37%.
That’s bad mojo for a party that is hoping that Tuesday’s victories will herald a wave election in the 2018 midterms.
On the other hand, the Republican Party isn’t doing any better. In fact, the only thing less popular than Democrats…are Republicans. Only 30% of Americans have a favorable view of the GOP, which is also THAT party’s worst numbers since 1992. They, too have lost considerable ground since the last survey in March.
What this shows is that next year’s midterms may come down to which party is able to capitalize better on the nation’s negative views of the political establishment as a whole. This was, in some ways, the very force that put Donald Trump in the White House to begin with. But if Trump and Trump’s Republicans are the incumbents and Democrats can pounce on a wave of dissatisfaction, the midterms could wind up being a bloodbath.
Of course, Republicans could potentially avoid this nightmare scenario by actually energizing the base by…you know…passing legislation they all promised in their last campaigns. But hey, that’s crazy talk, right?