According to a new Gallup poll, the Tea Party brand is in serious trouble. Just 22 percent of Americans now support the Tea Party, the poll finds — nearing the all-time low of 21 percent, which it hit in late 2012. The gap between opponents and supporters has steadied at a 5-point gap, with opponents outnumbering supporters 27 to 22 percent.
A larger majority, 51 percent, say they have no opinion.
Gallup’s Lydia Saad writes: “The majority of Tea Party opponents call themselves strong opponents, while supporters are evenly divided as strong and not strong supporters. The net result is that 17 percent of Americans consider themselves strong opponents of the Tea Party, contrasted with 11 percent who are strong supporters, similar to the balance seen in 2011.”
While 80 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of their party, only 55 percent of Tea Party supporters have a positive opinion of the Republican Party, and a stunning 43 percent of those who identify with the far right faction have an unfavorable view of the GOP.
“Notably, while Tea Party supporters and activists may not be fully satisfied with the GOP, they feel just as negatively as Republicans do about the Democratic Party, indicating they have little alternative in national elections,” Gallup reports. “However, their frustration with the GOP could result in more Tea Party-backed conservative challenges to Republican incumbents who don’t embrace Tea Party principles.”
The recent behavior from Tea Party leaders may explain the right’s declining popularity.
On Tuesday, Tea Party favorite Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) spoke on the Senate floor for 21 hours to block a bill that he inevitably voted for, and which in fact passed unanimously. Cruz’s overall motive was to convince his colleagues and Americans to support funding the government while defunding Obamacare, but what he did instead was create a spectacle on the Senate floor that ultimately had no impact on the final vote.
Since the ultra-right’s popularity began to weaken, the Tea Party has not only held the federal budget hostage, but has fabricated government “scandals”, attacked women’s rights, marginalized immigrants and minority groups, reduced opportunities for the middle and lower classes, and been entirely off base with voters on a multitude of other issues. Even some Republicans are now revolting against the Tea Party message.
The result of this poll should alarm both Tea Party supporters — who are witnessing a collapse of their brand — but also mainstream Republicans, who seem more likely than ever to face extreme right-wing challengers in upcoming elections.
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