Forty-five percent of Americans have a favorable view of the Republican Party, the highest in seven years, according to a Gallup poll.
The poll, which was released Monday, shows a nine-point gain for Republicans from the 36 percent mark the party had at this time last year. The GOP hasn't been viewed this favorably since January 2011, after the 2010 election in which Republicans took the majority in the House of Representatives.
The Republicans barely beat out the Democrats, as 44 percent of respondents told Gallup they hold a favorable view of the Democratic Party. For almost a decade, Democrats usually enjoyed a higher favorability rating.
The parity in Republicans' and Democrats' favorable ratings marks a change from what has generally been the case since Barack Obama's election as president in November 2008. Republicans have usually been rated less positively than Democrats over this time, with the Republican Party's favorability rating for the last decade averaging 39%, compared with the Democratic Party's 44%.
Only one other time in the last decade has the Republican Party had a significantly higher score than the Democratic Party. That one exception came in November 2014, immediately after elections that saw Republicans capture control of the Senate and expand their majority in the House, when 42% rated the GOP favorably and 36% the Democrats.
The increase in the GOP's favorability comes from Republicans viewing their own party in good terms.
The overall increase in the favorable image of the Republican Party is a result of a jump in the positive views of Republicans, including independents who lean toward the party. The percentage of Republicans and leaners with favorable views of their party grew from 67% last September to 85% now.
This is welcoming news to the party as it heads into the 2018 midterms to defend its congressional majorities in both the House and the Senate. As the midterms approach, Democrats have been leading the generic ballot, where they currently have a 7.5 point lead over Republicans.