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Tea party unpopularity at an all-time high: poll

By Sahil Kapur
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 9:33 EDT
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Two months after they voted in droves to topple Democrats from the House and expand Republican voices in the Senate, the tea party movement’s disapproval ratings have reached a new high, according to a new ABC/Washington Post poll.

Fifty-two percent of the US public had an unfavorable view of “the political movement known as the Tea Party,” the survey found, as opposed to only 35 percent who approved.

“Nearly three-quarters of Democrats — including as many moderate and conservative as liberal members of the party — have negative views of the political movement, as do half of all independents,” the Post reported.

The same poll conducted in September found that 45 percent disapproved of the movement, while 36 percent supported it. Last March, its favorable rating exceeded its negative by a margin of 41 to 39 percent.

The shift may reflect a populace growing uncomfortable with the divisiveness of the tea party’s designated leaders, such as former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Fox News host Glenn Beck, and Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann.

Surveys have consistently found that tea party supporters, though independent in self-description, largely reflect the staunchest conservatives in the Republican Party.

A Gallup poll last summer found that 79 percent of tea partyers identify as leaning Republican, while a whopping 62 percent called themselves “conservative Republican.”

Forty percent of the electorate in November’s midterms described themselves as tea party supporters, according to exit polls, reflecting, if anything, strong political enthusiasm. Tea party voters helped Republicans retake the House by a dramatic margin of 241-174, voting for GOP candidates by a massive 86-11 percent gap.

The fractured movement comprising thousands of groups across the nation began organizing under the “tea party” banner shortly after President Barack Obama took office, voicing rabid disapproval with taxes, spending and deficits.

The ABC/Post poll also found a five-point uptick in Obama’s approval ratings during the last month, clocking in at 54 percent, as opposed to 43 who disapprove of his performance.

 
 
 
 
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