American Public Sours On Tea Party Movement
A new CNN poll presents a possible dilemma for the GOP heading into 2012:
(CNN) — Nearly half of all Americans have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party movement, putting it in the same company as the Democratic and Republican parties, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday indicates that 32% of the public have a favorable view of the two-year-old anti-tax movement, which also calls for less government spending and a more limited role for the federal government in our lives. The 32% favorable rating is down five points from December.
The people questioned for the poll who say they have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party is 47%, up four points from December and an increase of 21 points from January 2010. That number is virtually identical to the 48% unfavorable ratings for both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in the same poll.
“This is the first time that a CNN poll has shown the Tea Party’s unfavorable ratings as high as those of the two major parties,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “It looks like the rise in the movement’s unfavorable rating has come mostly among people who make less than $50,000.”
The Tea Party movement’s unfavorable rating rose 15 points since October among lower-income Americans, compared to only five points among those making more than $50,000. Roughly half of all American households have incomes under $50,000.
Assuming these numbers are accurate, and assuming they hold up, the GOP could have a problem. The Tea Party Movement remains a strong voice inside the GOP and is likely to play a pivotal role in deciding who the 2012 nominee ends up being. If that candidate ends up being associated in the public mind with a movement that the public is skeptical of, then convincing those voters, most of whom are likely independents, to vote GOP could prove difficult.