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WaPo: Will Presidential Candidates Help Parties' Image?

By    |   Tuesday, 24 Mar 2015 06:38 AM

In the wake of a poll whose results showed that neither political party has a favorability rating above 40 percent, one reporter is posing the question of whether the candidates for president next year will be able to boost Americans' opinions.

The Gallup poll found that 37 percent of Americans approve of the Republican Party and 39 percent feel the same about Democrats. Since 2010, both parties have mostly stayed under the 50 percent line.

"For some time, numerous Gallup trends have been showing Americans largely displeased with government's performance and leadership," the study read.

Dan Balz of The Washington Post now wonders if any of the candidates in the upcoming presidential election will be able to bump up the ratings to more respectable numbers.

"Whether this is now the rough new normal or an aberrational moment isn't the issue," Balz writes. "What's most interesting is the degree to which the public now registers sizable disapproval of both major parties that represent them. That reflects another turn in the downward spiral in public confidence."

Balz does point out, however, that the GOP's approval rating of 37 percent is up from a dismal 28 percent following the partial government shutdown in the fall of 2013. After last fall's midterm elections, on the other hand, GOP support was at 42 percent.

What is to blame for that 5 percent drop, writes Balz, are the GOP's failures "to pull its warring wings together."

He points to the recent move by Republicans, which control both houses of Congress, to temporarily block funding for the Department of Homeland Security because of disagreements over President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration, along with the delay in holding a Senate confirmation vote for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, as causes for their party's low rating.

In the case of Lynch, the GOP leadership said it won't hold a vote until the party comes to an agreement with Democrats about a human trafficking bill that contains an abortion clause. But the delay isn't doing the party much good with minority voters, writes Balz, since Lynch is African-American. Several Democrats have turned the issue into one of race.

Democrats, on the other hand, are up 3 percentage points since the midterm elections. But the party is still down from 51 percent when Obama was voted back into office in 2012.

The fact that both parties have low ratings in the eyes of Americans is a new trend, and Balz writes that is "a reflection of the broader mood of disgust toward Washington."

Also down in the ratings department is Obama himself, who stands at 44 percent in the latest Gallup numbers.

The Gallup data takes a deeper dive and breaks down the approval numbers for each party by demographics, but the bottom line, writes Balz, is that Americans aren't happy with what's happening in their capital city.

"Beneath all that, however, remains the reality that many Americans, regardless of party, see little in the current party system that gives them confidence that politicians are working in their behalf," Balz writes.

The race for 2016 is just beginning, with one major candidate — Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz  — officially in the race. Several other candidates, such as Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republicans Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, and Donald Trump, are thinking about running and are expected to announce their decisions soon.

What remains to be seen, writes Balz, is if one of them will be able to turn the tables and improve his or her party's image.

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In the wake of a poll whose results showed that neither political party has a favorability rating above 40 percent, one reporter is posing the question of whether the candidates for president next year will be able to boost Americans' opinions.
elections, 2016, president, ted cruz, hillary clinton, washington post, poll
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2015-38-24
Tuesday, 24 Mar 2015 06:38 AM
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