Republicans are enjoying a five-year peak in popularity after their wins in the midterm elections, according to a new Bloomberg Politics poll, while President Barack Obama struggles with his lowest job approval rating, at 39 percent. The White House also is facing a backlash from independents who oppose his unilateral moves on immigration, and just 24 percent say the country is on the right track, the lowest rating since September 2011.
Obama’s weakened standing comes as he and the rising congressional Republican leaders are poised to become partners—or adversaries—in guiding the nation. They will start in January on more equal footing, the poll shows. Forty-five percent of Americans say they now view the Republican Party favorably, while 47 percent hold an unfavorable view. That’s the best showing the party has had since the inception of the poll in September 2009. Opinion about the Democratic Party has plunged, with a favorable rating of 41 percent and an unfavorable rating of 50 percent. This was Democrats’ worst showing in more than five years.
Still, any Republican lawmaker or 2016 presidential hopeful tempted to declare a mandate may want to heed these warning signs: Americans also are more likely to view Republicans as more confrontational than Democrats, and to say Republican politicians are more motivated by their desire to antagonize Obama. In addition, individual Republican leaders tested aren’t benefiting from the 8-point uptick in views of their party. For House Speaker John Boehner and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, more respondents have unfavorable than favorable views.