GOP ‘lost’ in ‘negative’ image problem


“Weak”, “uncompromising” and “lost” are just some of the descriptors of the Republican Party in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal-produced word cloud. The cloud, based on a poll on the perception of the GOP, provides a stark depiction of just how badly the Republican party’s brand has been damaged.

The GOP’s negative rating jumped to 45% with just a 30% positive rating.

When asked to describe the Republican party with one word or phrase, the most common response was some variation of “bad”, “weak” or “negative”. The party was labeled as “uncompromising”, “broken”, “lost” and “out of touch”.

Ten out of the top eleven labels were negative, with “conservative” being the single positive description. Some of that can likely be explained away as a post-election malaise, but the fact is that the GOP’s party brand has been upside-down almost every month since President Obama’s election in 2008.

“It’s bad mojo for the Republican party,” Republican pollster Micah Roberts said on The Daily Rundown today. But he preached patience and perspective.

“In December 2008, our numbers were actually a touch worse than this,” says Roberts. “In November 2010, Republicans pick up 62 seats in the House and six in the Senate. American politics are fluid.”

In truth, the month after those 2010 midterms marked the lone bright spot for the party brand. In December, the GOP’s approval rating hit 38%, compared to just 37% disapproval.

It turned out to be a high water mark. By January, the party was upside-down again by six points and it hasn’t had an overall positive rating since.

As we creep closer to the fiscal cliff, Republicans also appear to be taking more blame than Democrats, who haven’t seen the same kind of damage to their party brand. In fact, Democrats have seen a bump—44% now see the party positively, with just 35% seeing it negatively. That’s a a net positive of 9-points, compared to just a +2 positive in October.

As Democratic pollster Fred Yang pointed out Thursday, it doesn’t necessarily mean the public is more enamored with the Democratic party, but more likely, it signals just how far people are from the GOP.

“Sometimes elections or policy differences are about choices,” Yang said. “And if it’s the president versus Republicans, he wins.”

GOP 'lost' in 'negative' image problem