Americans have a more favorable than unfavorable view of Republicans for the first time in six years, according to a new Gallup poll.
The survey, which was conducted from Jan. 14 to Jan. 16, revealed that 47 percent of respondents had a positive impression of the GOP, compared to 43 percent who had a negative opinion. The last time a Gallup poll recorded a positive net score for Republicans was in 2005, when George W. Bush was in office and his party controlled both chambers of Congress.
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the ongoing war in Iraq and rising gas prices caused many Americans to turn on the GOP in subsequent years. After the 2006 midterm elections, in which Democrats gained control of Congress, a Gallup poll showed that 58 percent of respondents had an unfavorable view of Republicans.
The party hit an all-time low in popularity following the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, when 61 percent gave Republicans negative marks, compared to only 34 percent favorable. Obama's controversial healthcare law, a persistently high unemployment rates and a national deficit approaching $1.5 trillion has prompted many Americans to change their stance.
The GOP has also caught up to Democrats in regards to their use of the Internet. According to new research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, Republicans were just as likely as Democrats to be active on social networking websites in 2010. This is a stark contrast from the months leading up to the 2008 presidential election, when only 28 percent of followers of Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) used these sites, compared to 44 percent of Obama voters.