Five years ago, the Tea Party movement was just getting off the ground. In the time since then, the Tea Party has had a significant effect on many elections and on Republican candidates’ campaigns in particular. AEI’s political team takes a comprehensive look at polls on national reactions to the Tea Party movement in a special compilation. Highlights follow:
• The percentage of people who say they agree with the Tea Party movement has not wavered very much. However, as recognition of movement has increased, so have negative opinions of it. According to Pew, only 14 percent said they disagreed with the Tea Party movement in March 2010. But 32 percent disagreed with it in October 2013. At the same time, 24 percent agreed with the movement in 2010, compared to 19 percent in 2013.
• One oft-asked survey question is whether individuals consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement, and responses have shown little change. In a March 2010 Quinnipiac poll, 13 percent of registered voters said they were part of the movement; in September 2013, 12 percent gave that response.
• Gallup, AP/GfK, CBS News and The New York Times, and NBC and The Wall Street Journal have asked people whether they are “supporters” of the Tea Party movement. Responses to each of these questions have also been remarkably steady. For example, AP/GfK found in April 2010 that 31 percent self-identified as Tea Party supporters, and 27 percent did so in January 2014.
• Six pollsters ask people whether they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the Tea Party. All polls that surveyed individuals recently report that unfavorable sentiment has risen, sometimes quite sharply, since the questions were first asked. In a February 2010 ABC News/Washington Post poll, 35 percent had a favorable opinion and 40 percent an unfavorable one. In October 2013, those responses were 26 and 59 percent, respectively