Public favors Tea Party over top Dems

The American public has a more positive view of the Tea Party movement than both leaders of the majority party in Congress, according to a poll released Wednesday.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed that 30 percent view the grassroots conservative groups very or somewhat positively compared to 34 percent who view them very or somewhat negatively.

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But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was seen positively by 21 percent of those polled — 46 percent viewed her negatively. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) received a lower positive rating, 11 percent, but also a lower negative rating of 31 percent.

The numbers indicate that the public is dissatisfied with the way Congress has been run; 32 percent believe that this Congress's overall performance and accomplishments are "one of the worst." Only 4 percent say that Congress has done above average or excellent work.

Likewise, Republicans running for Congress have tied their opponents to Reid and Pelosi and many have attempted to attract the support of the small-government Tea Party groups, which party strategists view as having the edge on energy and enthusiasm going into the fall midterms.

But it's not clear how that strategy will play out in November.

The Democratic Party is still rated higher than the Republican Party. Democrats lead in positive ratings 33-22 percent, but both have similar negative ratings, 44 percent and 46 percent, respectively.

Democrats have countered Republican efforts by painting the election as a choice between their policies, which they say will help bring the country out of the economic recession, and the GOP, who they claim will restore policies that put the country into a tailspin.

So far, the public is divided on whether or not they want Democrats or Republicans to control Congress after this year. Forty-three percent prefer a Democratic Congress and 42 percent want a Republican Congress. The survey's margin of error is 3.1 percent.

President Obama, also made a target by Republicans, receives better ratings than Reid and Pelosi. Forty-six percent have a positive view of the president and 41 percent have a negative view of him.

Obama is one of only two public figures, groups or countries in the poll to have a higher positive rating than a negative rating, the other being first lady Michelle Obama.

The poll surveyed 1,000 adults between Aug. 5-9.