A surge in support for the Republican Party in the last quarter of 2021 vaporized an earlier advantage in party preference for Democrats, leaving behind a stunning 14-point shift in the metric.
According to Gallup, Democrats held a nine-point advantage at the beginning of the year, with 49% of respondents choosing that party. Only 40% chose the GOP.
But by the end of the year, in which Joe Biden’s administration produced catastrophe after catastrophe, the change was huge.
At that point, the GOP was being picked by 47% of the respondents; the Democrat Party only 42%.
Gallup reported the results are based on aggregated data from all U.S. Gallup telephone surveys in 2021, which included interviews with more than 12,000 randomly sampled U.S. adults.
“Gallup asks all Americans it interviews whether they identify politically as a Republican, a Democrat or an independent. Independents are then asked whether they lean more toward the Republican or Democratic Party. The combined percentage of party identifiers and leaners gives a measure of the relative strength of the two parties politically,” the polling organization reported.
Both the nine-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter and the five-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter are among the largest Gallup has measured for each party in any quarter since it began regularly measuring party identification and leaning in 1991.
Among Biden’s headaches during 2021 were the self-inflicted disaster at the southern border, which Biden brought on by removing the successful security policies used by President Donald Trump, the Afghanistan pullout that left thousands of Americans and supporters in the hands of the Taliban terrorists, the exploding inflation that is costing Americans, especially those in lower income brackets, and his failed spending spree and failed elections takeover agendas.
The shift appeared to develop over the year, but really only surged at the end. The second quarter’s support levels were 49% for Democrats and 43% for GOP. In the third, it was 45% for Democrats and 44% for the GOP.
“The GOP has held as much as a five-point advantage in a total of only four quarters since 1991. The Republicans last held a five-point advantage in party identification and leaning in early 1995, after winning control of the House of Representatives for the first time since the 1950s. Republicans had a larger advantage only in the first quarter of 1991, after the U.S. victory in the Persian Gulf War led by then-President George H.W. Bush,” Gallup reported.
The polling report attributed the collapse in Democrat support “to changes in popularity of the two men who served as president during the year. Republican Donald Trump finished out his single term in January, after being defeated in the 2020 election, with a 34% job approval rating, the lowest of his term. His popularity fell more than 10 points from Election Day 2020 as the country’s COVID-19 infections and deaths reached then-record highs, he refused to acknowledge the result of the election, and his supporters rioted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in an attempt to prevent Congress from counting the 2020 Electoral College votes.”
Biden started out, following months of campaign promises about bringing the nation together, with significant support.
But then reality hit. His proposals were divisive, and his party made no attempt to incorporate Republican support, talking openly about killing the Senate filibuster so the Democrats could advance legislation in opposition to every Republican there.
“A summer surge of infections tied to the delta variant of the coronavirus made it clear the pandemic was not over in the U.S., and Biden’s approval ratings began to sag. Later, the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan caused Biden’s ratings to fall further, into the low 40s. His ratings remain low as the U.S. battles rising inflation and yet another surge of COVID-19 infections, tied to the omicron variant of the virus,” Gallup reported.
Also impacting Biden’s struggling presidency is inflation, the southern border disaster, reports of conflict between the president’s staff and that of the vice president, and more.
“In the fourth quarter, party support flipped as Republicans made gains, from 44% to 47%, and Democratic affiliation fell from 45% to 42%. These fourth-quarter shifts coincided with strong GOP performances in 2021 elections, including a Republican victory in the Virginia gubernatorial election and a near-upset of the Democratic incumbent governor in New Jersey. Biden won both states by double digits in the 2020 election,” Gallup documented.
There were subtle changes, too.
“Between the first and fourth quarters, the percentage of Democratic identifiers decreased by two points, while the percentage of Democratic-leaning independents dropped five points. Republican identification increased by three points from the beginning to the end of 2021, while Republican leaners increased by four points,” the report said.
The results were even more stunning in that since Gallup started measuring the metric in 1991, Democrats have held the majority in almost every year. In that 1991 beginning, the GOP was up 48-44%.
“Overall in 2021, an average of 29% of Americans identified as Democrats, 27% as Republicans and 42% as independents. Roughly equal proportions of independents leaned to the Democratic Party (17%) and to the Republican Party (16%),” Gallup said.
“With control of the House of Representatives and Senate at stake in this year’s midterm elections, party preferences will be a key indicator of which party will be better positioned to gain majorities in the next session of Congress,” Gallup reported.
The Washington Examiner reported political analyst Josh Jordan noted that if the GOP advantage were to hold for this year’s elections, “it would be a seismic victory on election night — this is the biggest advantage for Republicans since the 1994 ‘Republican Revolution.'”
A week ago, a Quinnipiac University poll found only 33% of voters approve of Biden’s performance.
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