During the impeachment of Bill Clinton, Republicans were pretty unpopular. After eight years of George W. Bush, same. But never in the history of Gallup polling has the party been more unpopular than it is right now.
A crucial caveat: that history only goes back to 1992, so it doesn't include, for example, the post-Watergate era. But still, over the past 21 years the Republican Party has never been viewed less favorably by Americans than it is right now. Gallup explains.
[T]he Republican Party is now viewed favorably by 28% of Americans, down from 38% in September. This is the lowest favorable rating measured for either party since Gallup began asking this question in 1992.
Emphasis in the original. Gallup readily notes that the decline in opinion for Republicans isn't mirrored in an increase of favorability for Democrats. Forty-three percent of Americans view that party favorably. And 49 percent view Democrats unfavorably — but 62 percent have that opinion of Republicans. Interestingly, Republicans were twice as likely to view their own party unfavorably as were Democrats theirs.
As you can see from the graph above, party popularity doesn't necessarily translate into electoral success. In 1999, Republicans were at their then-lowest point in favorability, but won the White House the next year. If nothing else, this new data reinforces what other polls have shown for weeks: it will take something significant for the Republican Party to walk away from this shutdown with a victory.
Photo: Protestors at the Republican National Convention in 2012. (Reuters)