Views of the Tea Party movement are at their lowest point ever, with voters for the first time evenly divided when asked to match the views of the average Tea Party member against those of the average member of Congress, according to Rasmussen Reports.
Only eight percent now say they are members of the Tea Party, down from a high of 24 percent in April 2010 just after passage of the national health care law.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 30 percent of likely U.S. voters now have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party. Half (49 percent) of voters have an unfavorable view of the movement. Twenty-one percent are undecided.
In April 2009 when the Tea Party protests against President Obama’s spending policies first erupted, 51 percent of Americans held a favorable opinion of the movement. However, just 35 percent felt that way by last July.
Only 34 percent of voters now believe the Tea Party movement is good for the country, down from 49 percent in April 2011. Slightly more (40 percent) think the Tea Party is bad for the country, while 17 percent say neither.
A majority (56 percent) of voters agrees that the Tea Party movement has become less influential over the past year. Just 21 percent feel it has become more influential, although even more (23 percent) are not sure.
The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted on January 3-4, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports.
The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
While views of Congress are near all-time lows, 33 percent of voters think their views about the major issues facing the country are closer to those of the average member of Congress than to those of the average Tea Party member.
Another 33 percent say their views are closest to those of the Tea Party member, but that’s down from 48 percent in April 2011. Thirty-four percent are not sure.
Similarly, 35 percent feel the average Tea Party member has a better understanding of the problems America faces today, a 10-point drop from April 2011. Just as many (35 percent) now think the average member of Congress has a better understanding of those problems. Thirty percent are undecided.
Sixteen percent of Republicans now say they are Tea Party members, compared to two percent of Democrats and eight percent of voters not affiliated with either major party.
Most Republicans continue to have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party and have much more confidence in the average Tea Party member than the average member of Congress. Most GOP voters also still believe the movement is good for the country. Most Democrats disagree in every instance.
A plurality (46 percent) of unaffiliated voters regards the Tea Party unfavorably, but these voters are narrowly divided on most other questions related to the movement.
Still, 46 percent of Republicans agree with 60 percent of both Democrats and unaffiliateds that the Tea Party has become less influential over the past year.
In April of last year, 53 percent of Republicans viewed the Tea Party as a political plus for the GOP.
Fifty-six percent of voters who are Tea Party members think the movement has become more influential over the past 12 months, while 60 percent of non-members believe it has become less influential.
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