Americans' Opinions of U.S. Political Parties

Likes and Dislikes about Political Parties

Wattenberg offers evidence of party decline from questions about respondents' "likes" and "dislikes" about the parties.

Respondents in the National Election Studies were asked two pairs of questions about what they liked and disliked about the parties.

  • Here is the "like" question about the Democrats:

  • Here is the "dislike" question about the Democrats:


Responses to each pair of questions were written down, classified for type, rated for positive and negative nature, and counted. Over the span of elections that Wattenberg studied, he found that citizens tended to offer fewer likes and dislikes about the parties. He offers this as evidence that voters have come to regard parties as less relevant to politics.