A new poll shows a rise in approval for the Tea Party movement, amid a growing scandal over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups.
The 37 percent approval rating is just one percentage point below the movement’s all-time high in CNN/ORC’s polling.
A plurality of respondents, though, still hold an unfavorable view of Tea Party groups. Forty-five percent have a negative view of the movement, but that figure is down 3 points from March.
The poll's findings come after the IRS admitted employees had been applying a higher level of scrutiny to conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status, singling out those with “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their names.
"Politically, the group that may have benefitted the most from last week's news is the Tea Party movement, which may be getting something akin to a 'sympathy vote' for being targeted by the highly unpopular IRS," CNN polling director Keating Holland.
President Obama has criticized the IRS actions as “outrageous” and last week accepted the resignation of acting IRS Director Steven Miller. Congress has vowed to hold investigations into the IRS's conduct.
A number of GOP lawmakers have questioned whether the targeting was directed by senior Treasury or White House officials and want answers on what steps were taken to stop the misconduct.
On Monday, Obama press secretary Jay Carney said that chief of staff Denis McDonoughDenis McDonoughSunday shows preview: McMaster hits circuit for second straight week Obama chief of staff: 'The president cannot order a wiretap' Obama's chief of staff joins foundation with focus on jobs MORE and other senior officials were aware of the findings of a Treasury inspector general report, but elected not to inform the president.
Carney defended the move, saying the White House did not want to provide the impression they were interfering in an ongoing investigation.
Also on Monday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max BaucusMax BaucusChanging of the guard at DC’s top lobby firm GOP hasn’t reached out to centrist Dem senators Five reasons why Tillerson is likely to get through MORE (D-Mont.) and ranking Republican Orrin HatchOrrin HatchWeek ahead: Senate panel to vote on Trump's FDA pick Chaffetz's campaign arm registers 2028 websites The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Utah) called on the IRS to provide more information related to the additional scrutiny applied to Tea Party groups.
The CNN/ORC poll was conducted from May 17-18 among 923 adults. The poll had a 3-point margin of error.