… The Republican Party’s ratings now stand at a 20-year low, with just 33 percent of the public holding a favorable view of the party and 58 percent judging it unfavorably, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. Although the Democrats are better regarded (47 percent favorable and 46 percent unfavorable), the GOP’s problems are its own, not a mirror image of renewed Democratic strength.
Americans’ values and beliefs are more divided along partisan lines than at any time in the past 25 years. The values gap between Republicans and Democrats is now greater than the one between men and women, young and old, or any racial or class divides.
But while members of the Republican and Democratic parties have become more conservative and liberal, respectively, a bloc of doctrinaire, across-the-board conservatives has become a dominant force on the right. Indeed, it is their resolve and ultra-conservatism that have protected Republican lawmakers from the broader voter backlash that is so apparent in opinion polls. [cont.]
Andrew Kohut, Washington Post