Washington: In a worrisome indicator for the ruling Democrats, their favourable rating has dropped to a record low in a national opinion poll, suggesting that anti-incumbency sentiment is running high in the US.
The Democratic Party has a majority in both the US House of Representatives as well as the Senate, besides its leader Barack Obama occupying the White House.
In a late March USA Today/ Gallup poll, Americans` favourable rating of the Democratic Party dropped to 41 percent, the lowest point in the 18-year history of this measure.
Favourable impressions of the Republican Party are now at 42 percent, thus closing the gap between the two parties` images that has prevailed for the past four years, it said.
Gallup had last measured party images in late August/early September of last year.
At that point, the Democratic Party enjoyed an 11-point favourable image advantage over the Republican Party.
Now, the ratings of the two parties are essentially tied, it said, after releasing the results of the opinion poll.
The images of the two major parties have particular significance in a mid-term election year as only 28 percent of all respondents said they believed most members of Congress deserved to be re-elected.
The favourable rating of the Democratic Party exceeded that of the Republican Party by 52 percent to 37 percent just prior to the 2006 mid-term elections, in which the Democrats gained 31 House seats, Gallup said.
Americans` current 41 percent favourable rating of the Democratic Party is five points lower than the party`s previous low, recorded twice in 2005, it said.
By contrast, the Republican Party`s image reached its all-time low of 31 percent in December 1998 -- just after the House of Representatives voted to impeach president Bill Clinton.