Attitudes toward the tea party over time

Tea Party rally by Rena Schild / Shutterstock.com

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How strong is the Tea Party today? Will IRS targeting of Tea Party groups reinvigorate the movement? One way to begin to answer the question is to examine how views of the Tea Party have changed since 2010 when the pollsters began to track opinions about it. AEI’s public opinion team does just that in this compilation, reviewing trends from 9 major pollsters on Tea Party activism, support, and favorability. Even though questions about the Tea Party are not asked as frequently as they once were, many of the questions in this report show a slight drop in support since 2010, when they were first asked. Recent questions in the wake of the IRS scandals, show conflicted evidence of an increase in support.

Quinnipiac University and Fox News ask one of the most specific questions about involvement – whether you are “part of the Tea Party movement.” In August 2012, 16 percent of registered voters told Fox News they were part of the Tea Party movement. When Fox first asked the question in January 2012, 16 percent also gave that response.

Gallup, AP/GfK-Roper, CBS News and the New York Times, and NBC and the Wall Street Journal ask people whether they are “supporters.” A March 2013 CBS/New York Times question and an April 2013 AP/GfK-Roper survey produced almost identical responses (22 percent said they were supporters in the former, 23 percent in the latter.) AP/GfK-Roper, CBS, and NBC find that around six in ten now say they aren’t supporters. Gallup gives people the option of saying “neither” and this affects results. The ABC/Washington poll asks a different question about whether people support or oppose the Tea Party. Their latest May 2013 poll shows that 40 percent support and 43 percent oppose, slightly down from the 44 percent who supported it and 43 percent who opposed in August 2012.

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