GOP BRAND IN DEEP DOODOO!
How weak is the Republican brand right now? This issue came up yesterday when a Media Matters criticized The Hill for failing to mention the GOP's poor polling numbers in a story on the 2010 elections. Similarly, I recently suggested that that the damaged Republican brand might limit the number of seats that the party picks up. But is the party really worse off than previous opposition parties at this point in the election cycle?
As a first cut at the question, I pulled all the relevant polling on approval of the party in Congresss and party favorability from the Roper iPoll database for the periods leading up to the four most recent midterms (1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006). In both cases, the results are consistent, but I'll focus on the favorability questions since Pew and CBS asked comparable questions about party favorables in each cycle.*
The overall finding is simple -- the GOP's standing relative to the Democrats on both measures is worse than any opposition party in the sample. For instance, the Pew data show that the Republicans are currently viewed more negatively than any minority party in the previous four midterms in terms of both net favorables and the difference in net favorables between parties:**