Views of U.S. Political Parties Unchanged After Conventions

Views of U.S. Political Parties Unchanged After Conventions

Views of U.S. Political Parties Unchanged After Conventions

The FINANCIAL --  Americans' perceptions of the Republican and Democratic parties at the conclusion of this summer's presidential nominating season are little changed from what they were before the conventions began.

Overall, 44% of Americans hold a favorable view of the Democratic Party -- similar to the 43% in mid-July. Meanwhile, just over a third (36%) of Americans have a favorable view of the Republican Party, compared with 37% before the conventions, according to Gallup.

The latest results come from a Gallup poll conducted Aug. 3-7. The party favorable ratings remain relatively stable, with Americans consistently giving the Democratic Party a more positive image as they have all year -- despite the heavy news coverage given to the Republican (July 18-21) and Democratic (July 25-28) conventions, as well as the 20 to 30 million viewers who tuned in each night to watch them live on television.

Democrats More Positive Toward Their Own Party

Eighty percent of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party. GOP supporters grade the Republican Party less positively, with 63% of Republicans and independents who lean Republican rating their party favorably. Neither Democratic nor Republican partisans' views of their own party changed significantly after the conventions.

Democrats More Favorable Toward Clinton Than Republicans, Trump

Americans' views of the Democratic and Republican parties are, in general, quite similar to their views of each party's candidates, with 41% in the Aug. 3-7 survey viewing Hillary Clinton favorably (compared with 44% who view the Democratic Party favorably) and 34% who view Donald Trump favorably (compared with 36% who view the Republican Party favorably).

The same general pattern holds among the two partisan groups, with Democrats viewing their party and Clinton in broadly similar ways, and Republicans holding similar images of their own party and Trump. Nearly three-quarters of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic (74%) have a favorable opinion of Clinton, and 80% rate the Democratic Party favorably overall. Republicans' favorable opinions of both Trump and the GOP are also similar, albeit lower -- with 69% holding a favorable opinion of Trump and 63% for the Republican Party overall.

Democrats' views of Clinton are thus six percentage points lower than their favorable views of the party, while Republicans' views of Trump are six points more positive than views of their party.

Implications

All of the resources expended on the Republican and Democratic conventions failed to move the needle on either party's national image. Neither party gained nor lost ground in the eyes of the American public. Whether this is because Americans are resistant to changing their views of the parties or because the effect of the two conventions canceled each other out is unclear. Given the Democratic Party's edge on this measure entering the convention season, Americans' unchanged views of the two parties in the wake of the conventions may represent a win for Democrats.

Trump is running as the nominee of a party that is held in less favor in the eyes of the public than his opponent's, presenting his campaign with a politically challenging environment. At the same time, Republicans are slightly more positive about him than they are their own party, while Democrats are less positive about Clinton than they are the Democratic Party. One possible implication of this could be Trump's ability to generate higher turnout among his base than Clinton will be able to do among hers.