The Tea Party is in decline and it does not look like it will be able to continue much longer with any effectiveness or impact. A new ABC News poll on the Tea Party finds the more Americans hear about the Tea Party, the less they like about it. The poll also finds that Americans are tired of the Tea Party’s politics and are uninterested in learning any more about them. Unsurprisingly, the Tea Party has a wide gender gap problem as well, with a 13-point spread between men and women.
“This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that six in 10 Americans aren’t particularly interested in additional information about the Tea Party, and 41 percent aren’t interested ‘at all.’ Thirty-nine percent have at least some interest, but just 9 percent are very interested. Among those with interest, moreover, more than six in 10 already support it,” ABC News reports:
But perhaps most damaging is the buzz: Fifty percent of Americans say the more they hear about the Tea Party, the less they like it; just 27 percent say they like it more. That compares with a much closer (albeit still negative) 43-34 percent split on this question in April 2010.
A related problem for the movement (as with Santorum’s candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination) reflects its difficulties moving beyond its ideological and partisan base.
Within the Republican Party, Tea Party support peaks at 88 percent among conservative Republicans, with 32 percent “strongly” supportive. That declines to 69 percent of Republicans who do not describe themselves as “very” conservative – and notably, in this group, just 16 percent are strong Tea Party supporters. The movement also is backed by 64 percent of evangelical white Protestants.
Today the movement’s support is 22 points higher among people who think the economy is not improving, 18 points higher among those who say it’s very difficult to find jobs in their area and 15 points higher among people who think the recession has not yet ended, compared with others. To the extent it represents an economic protest movement, gains in the economy overall, and the job market in particular, work to the Tea Party’s detriment.
On one basic economic attitude, additionally, the movement finds itself at a disadvantage. It wins support from just 24 percent of Americans who are chiefly concerned about unfairness in the economic system that favors the wealthy, vs. a much broader 69 percent support among those who see a bigger problem in over-regulation of the free market that interferes with growth and prosperity. The challenge is that more are concerned about fairness, by a 15-point margin.
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