Is public support for the tea party movement fading?
The tea party movement has lost public support, including in the 60 House districts represented by member of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus. Is that just a blip, or is it significant?
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Then there’s the Republican presidential campaign in which those candidates most aligned with tea party goals – Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and most recently Herman Cain – have surged ahead then fallen back. (Ron Paul is an exception, but he’s always been an exception.)Skip to next paragraph
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There’s a sense, as Pew points out, that any dwindling support for the tea party movement is tied to a general lack of enthusiasm for the GOP hopefuls. (Again, Ron Paul with his solid base of true believers is an exception. Still, he has pretty high unfavorable ratings according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll.)
Now, Newt Gingrich is surging ahead in Iowa (but not in New Hampshire, where Mitt Romney holds a solid lead). But Gingrich can hardly be labeled a tea party type, having spent most of his adult life as a Washington insider.
If there’s any bloom off the tea party rose, it’s probably tied to a parallel decline in the Republican Party’s favorability rating in those 60 tea party House districts.
As recently as March, the GOP was viewed favorably in tea party districts 55-39 percent. Just since then, it’s dropped to 41 percent favorable and 48 percent unfavorable.
“What happened?” asks Washington Post political blogger Chris Cillizza. “To put it bluntly: governing.”
“Establishment Republicans smartly wrapped their arms around the tea party during the 2010 election, grasping that by channeling the passion and energy of these like-minded voters they could score major victories at the ballot box,” he wrote this week. “But once the tea party helped elect a Republican majority, the expectations of what that majority would do were unrealistic.”