The Tea Party movement has had some PR problems since the almost-default of the summertime debt fight. TPM has reported on the increasingly negative view of the conservative movement Americans have taken, and on Tuesday there was more bad news: CNN/ORC polling, which has tracked the Tea Party’s popularity since January 2010, shows that a majority of Americans now views it unfavorably.
The poll shows that only 28 percent of Americans do view the Tea Party favorably, versus a full 53 percent who don’t. The poll shows that less than twenty percent don’t have an opinion of Tea Partiers, which is the lowest yet — an issue on polling the movement has been that many Americans simply didn’t know enough about it. That has clearly changed since the beginning of last year.
In January 2010, the Tea Party was actually viewed favorabilty by a plurality in the CNN poll, with 33 having a positive view against 26 percent. That unfavorable number continued to grow through out the midterm elections of 2010 (in which a number Tea Party endorsed candidates won) and started to really climb during the period which the Tea Party contingent in Congress has had an effect on policy. Throughout 2011 their unfavorability has been in the high forties and now the fifties.
CNN is not the only organization to find that the Tea Party brand is suffering. A recent AP poll found a similar trend, although the CNN survey showed unfavorability within the same time period to be higher.
The news comes as GOP presidential candidates are trying to vie for the conservative base of the Republican Party, which contains the Tea Party advocates, while still maintaing their viability within a general election. But the more unpopular the Tea Party becomes, the larger the gulf between the primary audience and the general election electorate becomes.
The CNN/ORC poll used 1,010 live telephone interviews with adult Americans conducted from September 23rd to the 25th. The poll has a sampling error of three percent.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.