Here's a bit of good news for the Democrats: A new Gallup poll finds that Americans still rate the Democratic party higher than the Republicans.
But neither party's ratings are anything to write home about.
Forty-six percent of voters see the Democrats favorably and 39 percent have a favorable view of the GOP.
Seen from the negative side, 53 percent of Americans see the Republicans unfavorably, up from 50 percent in November. Forty-eight percent see the Democrats unfavorably, up from 43 percent.
The results come amid a number of developments that reflect badly on the Washington establishment, including congressional gridlock on major issues, bitter partisanship, a troubled economy, scandals plaguing the executive branch, and a general feeling among voters that the country is heading in the wrong direction.
"The American public has typically seen the Democratic party more favorably than the GOP since Gallup first asked this question in 1992," says a spokesman for Gallup. "The Democrats have an average favorability rating of 52 percent, while the GOP's average is 46 percent. Clearly, both parties are currently underperforming relative to their historical averages – a trend that has been apparent for several years now."
The Gallup spokesman added: "More broadly speaking, these depressed favorability ratings appear to be a continuation of a longer trend that has seen Americans sour on the two major parties. With the exception of one instance right after the November 2012 elections [when Democrats enjoyed a post-election 'victory bump' and surged to 51 percent], neither party has had a majority favorable rating since August 2009, and the favorable ratings of the two parties are below their historical averages. Meanwhile, about a fifth of Americans disapprove of both parties."
But Gallup doesn't hold out much hope for a new party. "More likely, should these low political party favorable ratings continue, the result may be declining voter participation rates," the Gallup spokesman concludes.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership." Ken Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook and Twitter.