Support for the Tea Party has reached its lowest point ever, as a growing number of Republicans now hold a negative view of the movement, according to a Pew survey released on Wednesday.
Forty-nine percent of the public have a negative view of the Tea Party, up from 37 percent in June and nearly double from where it stood in the early days of the movement, the poll found.
While the Tea Party has long been viewed unfavorably by Democrats and independents, the latest Pew survey found that Republicans have turned sharply against the group. Only 27 percent of centrist and liberal Republicans view the movement favorably, a 19-point drop from 46 percent in June.
In addition, non-Tea Party Republicans are increasingly likely to say that the Tea Party is not even associated with the GOP. While 41 percent of Tea Partyers say they identify as Republicans, only 27 percent of non-Tea Party Republicans say the movement is a part of the GOP.
The government shutdown and debt-ceiling battle have hardened the lines between traditional Republicans and those who identify with the Tea Party. The establishment GOP has been upset by what they view as a small faction with outsized influence over the party’s tactical moves.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is the case study in this. The freshman senator led the charge to defund ObamaCare, which provoked the government shutdown and backlash from some of his colleagues.
The Pew survey found Cruz’s favorability rating skyrocketing among Tea Party Republicans, from 47 percent in June to 74 percent in October. Meanwhile, the number of those who identify as non-Tea Party Republicans and who view him negatively has almost doubled from 16 percent in June to 31 percent in October.
Boosted by his strong support among the Tea Party, Cruz is viewed favorably by 44 percent of all Republicans, compared to 33 percent who view him negatively.
The Pew survey of 1,504 adults was conducted Oct. 9-13 and has a 2.9 percentage point margin of error.