06/03/2008 - The overall image of the Democratic Party has improved over the past year, although the Democratic-led Congress remains widely unpopular. A majority of Americans (57%) say they have a favorable view of the Democratic Party, up six points since July 2007 and 10 points since July 2006.
In contrast, views of the Republican Party remain at historic lows. Currently, 53% of Americans express unfavorable views of the Republican Party while only 39% say they have a favorable opinion of the party. These ratings are unchanged from July 2007, and have changed little since April 2006.
Public attitudes toward Congress remain very negative. Currently, just 41% of the public expresses a favorable opinion of Congress, with 51% unfavorable; that is identical to opinions of Congress in July 2007. Views of Congress were more positive in January 2007, shortly after the Democrats won control of the House and Senate (53% favorable vs. 38% unfavorable).
In historical terms, positive opinions of Congress are about as low as they were in October 1995, during the standoff between former President Clinton and the GOP-led Congress that led to a government shutdown. In October 1995, 42% expressed favorable views compared with 55% who held unfavorable opinions.
Currently, majorities of Republicans (62%) and independents (58%) have unfavorable opinions of Congress. By contrast, a majority of Democrats express a favorable opinion of Congress (54%), compared with 40% who have an unfavorable view. There has been virtually no change in these partisan ratings of Congress since last year.
Read the complete findings Democratic Party's Favorables Rise, Congress Still Unpopular on the Pew Research Center Web site.