Tea Party takes hit among independents

A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows that as the visibility of the Tea Party movement has increased over the past year, so has its negatives.

The survey found that currently just 22 percent of respondents "agree" with the Tea Party, while 29 percent said they "disagree." Another 49 percent said they either had no opinion or hadn't heard of the Tea Party.

ADVERTISEMENT
The numbers mark a turnaround from November, when Tea Party activists helped Republicans net 63 congressional seats and retake control of the House. Last fall, 27 percent of those polled said they agreed with the Tea Party's views, compared to just 22 percent who said they disagreed. 

Tea Party activists are playing a central role in the current budget standoff in Washington, pushing the House GOP leadership and its newly elected freshman members to stand firm on their pledge to cut at least $61 billion in spending.

Congressional leaders and the White House are still working to reach a budget agreement and avert a government shutdown Friday. 

"The rise in negative views of the Tea Party has occurred largely among political independents and Democrats," reads a Pew analysis of the results. "Last March, more independents agreed than disagreed with the Tea Party by a 26% to 14% margin. Today, as many independents disagree as agree with the Tea Party (27% each); the percentage disagreeing with the Tea Party has risen 13 points."

The numbers from Pew come on the heels of a CNN/Opinion Research survey released late last month that showed just 32 percent have a favorable view of the Tea Party, while 47 percent view it unfavorably.

The March numbers were down from the Tea Party's high in April of last year, when 38 percent said they viewed the Tea Party favorably, compared to 36 percent who didn't.

The CNN poll also found a sizable number of independents with an unfavorable view of the Tea Party — 48 percent.