Popular Divide: The Democratic Party vs. The Democratic Congress

Posted June 3, 2008 at 1:14pm

Question: What’s the difference between the Democratic Party and the Democratic Congress?

Answer: Americans like one and not the other.

A Pew Research Center survey conducted May 21-25 says the overall image of the party has improved while the Democratic Congress continues to be seen negatively. Fifty-seven percent of Americans have a positive view of the party which is 6 points more than July 2007 and 10 points more than July 2006. But 51 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Congress – about the same as July 2007 – while 41 percent view it favorably. Back in January 2007, when the Democrats first took over, Congress was viewed favorably by a 53 percent to 38 percent margin. Pew says positive opinions of Congress are about as low as they were in October 1995 when the stand-off between former President Clinton and the Republican Congress led to a government shutdown.

Fifty-three percent of Americans say they view the Republican Party negatively compared to 39 percent who have a positive view. That’s about the same as the last two years. But the percentage of Republicans who view their own party favorably has fallen from 83 percent in July 2007 to 73 percent.