Tea Party Poll Shows Support At Near Low Ebb
By Ariel Edwards-LevySupport for the tea party is nearly as low as it's been since the movement's creation, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday.
Twenty-two percent of those polled consider themselves supporters of the tea party, while 27 percent of respondents say they oppose the movement. The remaining 51 percent say they're neither, or don't have an opinion. Those who say they "strongly oppose" the tea party also outnumber those who "strongly support" it, 17 percent to 11 percent.
Overall support is down 10 points from the 32 percent who supported the tea party in the days after the 2010 midterm election, and nearly tied with the record low support for the movement in late 2011, as measured by Gallup.
While Republicans continue to have the closest ties to the tea party, their level of support is far lower than it was in the movement's heyday. Thirty-eight percent of Republicans support the tea party, while 7 percent of them oppose it and a majority 55 percent is ambivalent. In November 2010, 65 percent of Republicans identified with the Tea Party.
On the flip side, tea party members are less than unanimously pleased with the GOP; while 55 percent of members view the Republican Party favorably, 43 percent of them view it unfavorably.
"U.S. support for the Tea Party is at a low ebb at a time when key issues of concern for the movement -- funding for the Affordable Care Act and raising the U.S. debt ceiling -- are focal points in Washington, with Tea Party-backed Sen. Ted Cruz prominently fighting both policies," Gallup senior editor Lydia Saad wrote. "The discomfort he has created in the Republican caucus is merely emblematic of the ambivalence national Republicans feel toward the movement. Although few Republicans outright oppose the Tea Party, far more are neutral toward it than support it."
That minority of tea party supporters has caused some friction for the Republican Party as it seeks to reshape itself in the wake of the 2012 elections. A July Pew Research poll found that while tea party and non-tea party voters agree that the GOP needs to make major changes, non-tea party voters would like to see the party reconsider some of its positions. Tea party voters mostly think the party should make a stronger case for its current platform, and are more likely to want more conservative policies on issues like gay marriage, abortion and government spending.
The Gallup poll surveyed 1,510 adults between Sept. 5 and. Sept. 8.
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