In a sharp contrast from four years ago, a large majority of Republicans say their side has been winning more often than it has been losing politically, while Democrats overwhelmingly say their side has been on the losing end more frequently.
Today, 69% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say that on the issues that matter to them, their side has been winning more often than losing, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 4-15 among 6,395 adults.
Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, just 18% think their side has been winning, while 80% say their side has been losing more often.
For this analysis on views of winning and losing, we surveyed 6,395 U.S. adults in February 2020. Everyone who took part is a member of Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology.
Partisans not only diverge in views of the current fortunes of their parties, but they also have very different expectations about the upcoming election. In January, before the Democratic caucuses and primaries began, 80% of Republicans said President Donald Trump was likely to win reelection; just 44% of Democrats said it was likely that a Democratic candidate would triumph.
Republicans are far more upbeat about their party’s success than they were in 2016 – when 75% said their side was losing more often than winning – or in 2018, when 53% said the same. Four years ago, Democrats were divided on whether their side was winning more than losing. But since then, large majorities have said their side has been losing politically.
Among all adults, 56% say that on the issues that matter to them, their side has been losing more often than winning, while 41% say their side has been winning more often than losing. The share saying their side is losing more often than winning has declined 11 percentage points since 2018, largely because of the change among Republicans.
Conservative Republicans in particular have become more likely to say their side is winning. The share saying this has more than tripled since 2016 (from 20% to 76%), including a 26-point increase just in the past two years.
Moderate and liberal Republicans also are much more positive about how their side is doing politically than they were in 2016. But since 2018, there has been little change in the share of moderate and liberal Republicans who say their side is winning (54% in 2018, 58% in 2020).
Last year, nearly identical shares of conservative and moderate Democrats and liberal Democrats said their side was winning (19% vs. 17%). Today, conservative and moderate Democrats are slightly more likely than liberal Democrats to say their side is winning (23% vs. 13%).