Aligning yourself too closely to the tea party could be a great way to lose an election in Florida, apparently. So says a recent poll by Gainesville, Florida based polling firm War Room Logistics. In the poll, registered Florida voters said 2:1 that the tea party did not represent their views. War Room’s Alex Patton says this could pose “a real danger to Republican candidates”.
Democrats and independents both gave the tea party the thumbs down, with independent voters holding unfavorable views of the nascent far-right movement 3-to-1. Typically Florida elections are decided by independent voters, and the only constituency still in favor of the recent tide of tea party politicians elected in the Fall of 2010 are Republicans, 68 percent of whom view the tea party favorably.
Patton says the risk for the GOP lies in embracing the tea party in order to win the primary election, then being pilloried in the general election by a population who find the tea party’s views to be extreme and divisive. Primary elections, however, most often draw a party’s most committed members, and in the Republicans’ case, these are the voters most likely to support the tea party.
The Florida poll mirrors national Gallup polls that show only 33 percent of Americans holding favorable views of the Tea party. Pollster Dave Beattie says that one reason for the decline in popularity is that, “Republicans are parents, too, and they don’t like cuts to the classroom.”
Florida governor Rick Scott has earned voters’ ire with draconian cuts to education as well as his decisions to turn down federal money for high speed rail and to drug test recipients of federal aid.