Poll: Democrats Viewed Way More Trustworthy, Compassionate Than Republicans

Daniel Doherty
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Posted: Jul 27, 2015 6:45 PM
Poll: Democrats Viewed Way More Trustworthy, Compassionate Than Republicans

Hardly surprising. Nevertheless, Republicans have their work cut out for them in combatting long-entrenched and easily-perpetuated stereotypes. By and large, respondents overwhelmingly believe Democrats represent the party of compassion, moral rectitude, and moderation, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

The most alarming figure above is probably the empathy gap. Fifty-three percent of respondents say Democrats are “concerned with people like me.” Republicans, by contrast, trail on this question by double digits. This is depressing news, partly because as the GOP has sought to rehabilitate its image — and grow the party — there’s been no discernible change in public opinion on this question for years:

The Democratic Party continues to enjoy an advantage on a number of key traits and qualities, and these views are little changed since last fall. By a 22-point margin, more say the Democratic Party is “more concerned with the needs of people like me.” The Democratic Party has held a similar-sized lead on this trait since 2011, and at least a double-digit edge going back to when this question was first asked more than 25 years ago in 1988.

The Democratic Party also leads the Republican Party as the party that governs in a more honest and ethical way (45% vs. 29%). This balance of opinion is also little changed over the last few years.

Even worse, perhaps, Republicans themselves are losing faith in their own party. To wit:

The Republican Party’s image has grown more negative over the first half of this year. Currently, 32% have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, while 60% have an unfavorable view. Favorable views of the GOP have fallen nine percentage points since January. The Democratic Party continues to have mixed ratings (48% favorable, 47% unfavorable).

The Democratic Party has often held an edge over the GOP in favorability in recent years, but its advantage had narrowed following the Republicans’ midterm victory last fall. Today, the gap is as wide as it has been in more than two years.

Still, the silver lining is this: Pew's findings merely and seemingly only convey general trends. That is, what happens when you test specific candidates on these issues? Could the results be any different? Of course they could.

For instance, Democrats like Hillary Clinton are struggling mightily when polled about their trustworthiness and favorability. In that sense, Mrs. Clinton shares similarities with a political party that, otherwise, she has very little in common with.