More Americans believe Republicans are better than Democrats when it comes to national security and the economy, a new Gallup survey showed.
When asked which party will do a better job of protecting the country from international terrorism and military threats during the next few years, 54% of respondents said the GOP and 39% said the Democratic Party, Gallup said Wednesday.
As for which party will do a better job of keeping the country prosperous, more people chose the Republican Party (50%) than the Democratic Party (41%).
The remaining percentages with both questions went to people who chose “No difference” between the parties.
Democrats since last year suffered double-digit declines in the percentages of independents who say the party is better at handling the most important problem (from 42% to 31%), at keeping the nation secure (from 43% to 31%), and at keeping the nation prosperous (from 47% to 35%).
The 15-percentage-point GOP advantage on security matters is its largest since 2015, and its 9-point edge on prosperity is its largest since 2014, Gallup said.
Last year, before progressives took control of the White House and Senate, Republicans had a narrow advantage on international matters while the parties essentially were tied on economic matters.
The Republican Party typically is seen as being more capable on national security matters, but the 15-point gap in favor of the GOP is the largest since a 16-point advantage in 2015. The party had a 23-point gap in 2014.
The GOP has had at least a small advantage when it comes to keeping the country prosperous for most of the past decade. The only years since 2010 that Republicans have not led were 2012 and 2020, two years in which Democrats were elected president.
The last time at least half of U.S. adults said the Republicans were better at keeping the country prosperous was in 1989.
Gallup found that Republicans hold a slight advantage — 41% to the Democratic Party’s 38% — when it comes to which party can better handle the most important issue, whatever it is determined to be, facing the country.
That was a significant change from last year, when 47% said the Democratic Party was better than the Republican Party (39%) at addressing the most important problem.
The coronavirus pandemic or the government itself are most commonly named as the most important problem right now. Last year, race relations also was cited.
Not all news was positive for Republicans, Gallup said.
“Despite these issue advantages, the Democratic Party still maintains a slight edge in overall favorability, as it has for nearly all of the past decade even as the GOP has typically led on these issue measures,” Gallup said. “These results, therefore, suggest the Republican Party has not been able to translate its competence edge on key issues to a more positive image of the party overall.”
Gallup’s annual Governance survey was conducted Sept. 1-17, just following President Joe Biden’s disastrous troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, amid heightened numbers of COVID-19 infections due to the delta variant, and a weaker-than-expected U.S. employment report.