It seems that the Tea Party’s governing style, most clearly on display during the debt ceiling fight in Congress, has taken a toll on Americans’ view of the movement. Polls have been showing a drop in its approval, and a new AP/GfK poll shows that its unfavorable rating has seen a sharp rise. 46 percent of those surveyed said they have a negative view of the Tea Party movement, versus 28 who say they view it favorably.
The last time the AP conducted a national poll on Americans’ favorability of Tea Partiers was in their pre-governing period: throughout 2010 the conservative movement was viewed slightly unfavorably but the splits were close. In June of 2010 it even earned a positive rating, with 33 percent of over 1,000 adults surveyed finding the movement favorable against 30 percent. In the last AP rating, taken Nov. 3-8, 2010, directly after the 2010 election, the split stood at a slim negative rating of 32 percent favorable against 36 unfavorable.
The jump of ten points in the negative number is all in the “very unfavorable” category. In November of 2010 there were 22 percent who viewed the Tea Party that way, which has risen to 32 percent. The “somewhat unfavorable” number remains unchanged in the last nine months, steady at 14 percent.
It’s also worth noting that Congressional approval as a whole is extremely low in the new AP poll, even by its own standards. It now stands at 12 percent approval versus 87 percent disapproval, a dip from the previous low over the last two years of 22 approval against 76 percent disapproval in March of 2010. This reflects other Congressional lows seen in the Gallup and CBS/NYT polling since they broke for the August recess.
The new AP poll used live telephone interviews with 1,000 American adults conducted from August 18th to the 22nd, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percent.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.