Support For The Tea Party And Republican Party Falls...Do You Agree ?
Support for Tea Party Falls in Strongholds, Polls Show
Support for the Tea Party — and with it, the Republican Party — has fallen sharply even in places considered Tea Party strongholds, according to an analysis of new polls.
In Congressional districts represented by Tea Party lawmakers, the number of people saying they disagree with the movement has risen significantly since it powered a Republican sweep in midterm elections; almost as many people disagree with it as agree with it, according to the analysis by the Pew Research Center.
Support for the Republican Party has fallen even further in those places than it has in the country as a whole. In the 60 districts represented in Congress by a member of the House Tea Party Caucus, Republicans are now viewed about as negatively as Democrats.
The analysis suggests that the Tea Party may be dragging down the Republican Party heading into a presidential election year, even as it ushered in a new Republican majority in the House of Representatives just a year ago.
Other polls have shown a decline in support for the Tea Party and its positions, particularly because its hard line during the debate over the debt ceiling and deficit reduction made it less an abstraction than it was a year ago. In earlier polls, most Americans did not know enough about the Tea Party to offer an opinion.
“We know that the image of the G.O.P. has slipped, but to see it slip so dramatically in Tea Party districts is pretty surprising,” said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Center. “You think of those as bedrock Republican districts. They are the base.”
The number of people who disagree with the Tea Party has also risen among the general public, according to the most recent of the polls in the Pew analysis, taken this month. Among the public, 27 percent said they disagreed with the Tea Party and 20 percent said they agreed — a reversal from a year ago, when 27 percent agreed and 22 percent disagreed.
In Tea Party districts, 23 percent of people now disagree with the Tea Party, while 25 percent agree. A year ago, 18 percent of people in those districts disagreed with the Tea Party, and 33 percent agreed.
In another poll in the Pew analysis, conducted in October, 48 percent of people in Tea Party districts said they had a negative view of the Republican Party, while 41 percent said they had a favorable view. The favorable rating had dropped 14 percentage points since March.
That drop was steeper than it was among the general public, where the percentage of people with a favorable opinion of the Republican Party had fallen to 36 percent, from 42 percent in March.
Opinions about the Democratic Party have shifted less, nationally and in Tea Party districts. Among the general public, favorable ratings for the Democratic Party fell to 46 percent in October from 50 percent in August. In Tea Party districts, favorable ratings for the Democrats stayed about the same — at 39 percent in October and 37 percent in August.
There was even some evidence that Tea Party Republicans were viewing Democrats a little less harshly. The share of people in Tea Party districts who viewed the Democrats unfavorably had fallen to 50 percent in October, from 57 percent in August.
How much this affects Republican chances in the presidential contest next year, Mr. Kohut said, probably depends on which candidate wins the nomination.
“If the candidate is of a more conservative bent, he or she will have to deal with this complaint about the Tea Party among the general public, of being too extreme and not willing to compromise,” he said.
“The focus has been very much on the candidate and not on the party, but going into this election, the party has problems,” he said. “Which isn’t to say that people are wildly enthusiastic about the Democratic Party, but it hasn’t lost the kind of favor the G.O.P. has.”
The analysis is based on polls conducted by the Pew Research Center from March 2010 through November.
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