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Monday, April 1, 2013

What People Like and Dislike About the Parties

Gallup reports:
Americans can name plenty of things they like and dislike about both major political parties today, and no single factor dominates either's image. However, a few things stand out as significant advantages and liabilities for each. Most prominently, the idea that the Republican leadership is inflexible and unwilling to compromise with the Democrats overshadows all other criticisms leveled at the GOP, both within and outside its ranks.
For almost every issue that some people (mostly Republicans) cite as positive about the Republican Party, others (mainly Democrats and independents) cite it as a negative. The negatives heavily outweigh the positives with respect to Republicans' perceived rigidity and perceived support for the rich. In some cases, positive and negative mentions of the party's positions roughly cancel each other out, including on abortion, immigration, and "economic policies." However, the GOP enjoys a positive tilt in the balance of views about its support for lower spending, smaller government, lower taxes, and its general conservatism. This may indicate that a key to Republicans' regaining favor with Americans is not necessarily to change their positions, but to be perceived as less dogmatic about them and willing to compromise to pass legislation. Of course, some Republicans oppose this position, including the 14% who say their party already compromises too much.
The leading positive perception of the Democratic Party nationally is that it cares about the middle or working class (a prominent sentiment among both Democrats and independents); however, this is matched by the percentage saying it spends too much money (a top negative mention among all party groups). Healthcare, gay marriage/gay rights, and abortion elicit equally high mentions as reasons people like or dislike the Democratic Party, while the impact of its policies on gun control (2% like the party's position; 4% dislike it), and taxes (1% vs. 4%) tilt slightly negative.