Tea Party Receives Its Highest Negatives Ratings To Date In New Poll

Tea Party

A new survey reveals a steep decline in support for the Tea Party, with the movement receiving its lowest ratings to date. – Cartoon by Bill Day, Cagle Cartoon

New Survey Shows Opinion Of The Tea Party At New Low.

A new survey conducted by Pew Research shows a steep decline in support for the Tea Party. In the poll, the right-wing movement receives its lowest ratings to date.

The survey took place Oct. 9-13, during the heart of the government shutdown. According to the poll, 49 percent of Americans have a negative opinion of the movement, compared to 30 percent with a positive view. In 2010, only 25 percent of Americans had a negative opinion.

Unfavorable Views of Tea Party Have Nearly Doubled Since 2010

The survey revealed that the Tea Party’s low ratings are not a partisan issue. Democrats, Independents and Republicans expressed a growing negative opinion of the movement. In Aug. 2011, 64 percent of Republicans held a positive view of the Tea Party. That number now stands at 53 percent, while 27 percent of GOP members view the movement negatively. This is the lowest rating GOP members have ever given the Tea Party.

Tea Party Favorability Drops Across Party Lines

The Growing Gap Between The Tea Party And The Grand Old Party.

The survey also revealed major differences between Tea Party and mainstream GOP members on a range of issues. These numbers could explain the rift that has formed between elected conservatives that consider themselves members of the Tea Party, and those that don’t. According to the survey, members of the Tea Party hold more conservative positions on issues like economics, gun rights and health care.

Tea Party Republicans Overwhelmingly Favor Smaller Gov’t, Gun Rights – and No Obamacare

In 2010, during the height of the Tea Party’s popularity, the GOP used the energy behind the movement to make significant gains in congress. Today, it is uncertain if the Republican Party and the Tea Party will be able to coexist.

According to the survey, 55 percent of Republicans who don’t agree with the Tea Party believe that the movement is separate from the GOP. Most people who identify with the Tea Party (52 percent) also view the movement as separate from the GOP. However, this number has decreased since 2011, when 67 percent of Tea Party members saw the movement as being separate from Republicans. The growing number of Tea Party members that now view their movement as a part of the GOP may signify the increased influence of the movement over the Republican agenda.

Lonely At The Top.

This belief is also represented in the way Tea Party conservatives and mainstream Republicans view the GOP leadership in congress. The survey measured support for Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Among Tea Party members, Boehner and McConnell received higher ratings.

If you recall, the survey took place during the middle of the government shutdown. A major cause for the shutdown was the Tea Party’s opposition to the health care law. With Boehner and McConnell both gaining popularity among Tea Party members during this time, it may show agreement with their actions. The lower ratings for the two men among mainstream GOP members shows less satisfaction with the shutdown, and perhaps, the cause of the shutdown as well.

This leaves Republicans with two options. Either they can accept growing influence of an unpopular movement, or they can attempt to regain control. However, this could result in a public struggle for the direction of the party. Neither option bodes well for the GOP headed into 2014.