February 2009 should have been the lowest possible point for the Republican Party. President Obama had just become the 44th president of the United States with the largest majorities in both houses of Congress that any president had enjoyed in generations.
The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that month found that 26 percent of Americans had a favorable view of the GOP, while 47 percent didn’t. The latest version of the same poll finds that 24 percent see the party positively, and 47 percent negatively.
This isn’t even the GOP’s lowest point in the poll. That came in late October of last year, immediately after the government shutdown, when only 22 percent had a positive opinion compared to 53 percent negative.
Republicans began the first year of President Obama’s second term with about 33 percent seeing the party positively in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. The peak was 38 percent, just before the government shutdown.
In an aggregate of polls tracking the GOP’s favorability, the trend is even more obvious. The party’s favorable ratings, which were already underwater, took a dip as the government shutdown neared — that’s when they nosedived, and haven’t recovered since.
You can call it a gift from Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) to the Republican Party.