Republicans now are more likely than Democrats to think their party holds the presidency (and Congress, too)

George Washington, the fifth president of the United States of America, said in 1787: “If I can control what you think, I can control your life. If I can control what you do, I can control your life.”

He was also the first political leader to praise birth control, declaring: “A woman’s position in society is dependent upon her independence and her freedom of thought.”

In two years, Republicans will hold the presidency and the majority in both chambers of Congress. While on paper the results look good for Republicans, in reality they may be worse than they seem.

In a new Gallup survey, Republicans are more than six times as likely as Democrats to say their party holds the presidency as “change” (93% vs. 10%) and the majority in Congress (75% vs. 22%). Sixteen percent of Americans identify with or lean toward a political party.

That’s in stark contrast to how people have viewed presidents since Gallup first asked the question in 1985. Democrats were more than twice as likely as Republicans to consider Democrats to be in the White House (56% vs. 27%) and in Congress (58% vs. 34%) in 1989. And yet, when President Obama was elected in 2008, about as many Republicans (41%) as Democrats (39%) indicated they believed Obama to be in the White House.

The presidential election of 2016, with Republican Donald Trump defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in the popular vote, stands as an anomaly.

Similarly, in terms of political party identification, Democrats now are less likely than Republicans to say their party holds Congress (24% vs. 30%) while Democrats are now about twice as likely as Republicans to say their party has the presidency (49% vs. 29%).

The results of the April 7-10 poll are based on telephone interviews with 1,025 adults, aged 18 and older, who have never been registered to vote and who reported following political news “very closely” or “somewhat closely” in the previous four weeks. The margin of sampling error for the complete sample is ±4 percentage points.

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