For the first time since 2005, more people have a positive opinion of the Republican Party than a negative one, a new poll found.

According to the USA Today/Gallup poll released Thursday, 47 percent of Americans hold a favorable view, compared with 43 percent who hold an unfavorable view.


The last time the GOP had a net positive rating was 2005.

Meanwhile, slightly more people view the Democratic Party unfavorably than favorably, the poll found: Forty-seven percent had a negative view, compared to 46 percent who had a positive one.

While that’s an improvement over last year, the findings are "among the worst for Democrats since 1992," according to Gallup. In March of last year, the split was 54 percent unfavorable to 41 percent favorable for Democrats.

"After a rancorous election year in 2010, Americans' opinions of both political parties are improving in early 2011," Gallup's Jeffrey M. Jones wrote. "The two parties' ratings are now generally similar, suggesting they are starting off on relatively equal footing as a Democratic president and Senate, and a Republican House of Representatives attempt to govern the nation over the next two years."

During the State of the Union address on Tuesday, members of Congress ignored a longstanding tradition of sitting only with members of their own parties. The bipartisan seating, Jones writes, will likely reinforce positive views the public has of both parties.