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Tea party: trouble for the GOP?

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll indicates that the tea party's gain is mostly the GOP's loss: the percentages of Americans seeing the Democratic Party as the most in sync with their values and as the most empathetic are about the same as in November, while the numbers siding with the GOP have dropped by nearly identical numbers now identifying with the tea party in these areas.

Moreover, the breakdowns indicate possible problems on two flanks: in the base and the middle.

White evangelical Protestants and those who consider themselves "very conservative" are about as apt to see themselves as in sync with the tea party as with the GOP on values, to see the tea party as empathetic and as being in-tune with the economic problems people are having. "Strong" Republicans and the "very" conservative are also the only groups where majorities say the more they hear about the movement, the more they like it.

But the GOP may also face problems appealing to the middle, with independents who lean Republican particularly intrigued by the tea party movement. Late last year, 81 percent of GOP-leaning independents said the Republican Party better represented their values; now just 36 percent do, with the drop off all moving to the tea party (42 percent in this group now says the tea party best reflects their values).

%GOP represents your own values: 
                Nov.  Now   Change  %Tea party now     
Ind. lean GOP   81%   36%    -45         42
Con. Rep.       93    67     -26         25
Wh. evang. Ps.  61    36     -25         32
Republicans     91    69     -22         21 
Conservatives   61    40     -21         27
Ind. ~GOP-lean  12     3      -9          6
%GOP concerned with people like you:

                Nov.  Now   Change   %Tea party now     
Ind. lean GOP   75    34     -41         44
Con. Rep.       88%   57%    -31         32
Wh. evang. Ps.  57    34     -23         35
Republicans     80    61     -19         26
Conservatives   59    37     -22         31
Ind. ~GOP-lean  12     7      -5         10

By Jon Cohen  |  May 5, 2010; 10:10 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Post Polls  
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Next: What motivates the tea party?

Comments

The Tea Party is simply the most extreme wing of the Republican Party. They're turned, predictably, on a few Republicans like John McCain and Charlie Crist, who they considered too reasonable, but for the most part they support and vote for Republicans. What the poll shows is that there has not been much movement between the two real sides, specifically there has not been a mass defection by Democrats from Obama, as Republicans claim.

Posted by: DaveHarris | May 5, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

...and this is where the GOP excels, destroying third party threats...but then that was back when the GOP had a credible and functioning party apparatus and before they had become the Party of NO!...

today the GOP has no platform of issues with which to co-opt, marginalize or otherwise disable a third party...

I wonder if Rich Lowry is regretting having written his commentary in the National Review claiming teabaggers as Republicans?

Posted by: hughmaine | May 5, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

...and this is where the GOP excels, destroying third party threats...but then that was back when the GOP had a credible and functioning party apparatus and before they had become the Party of NO!...

today the GOP has no platform of issues with which to co-opt, marginalize or otherwise disable a third party...

I wonder if Rich Lowry is regretting having written his commentary in the National Review claiming teabaggers as Republicans?

Posted by: hughmaine | May 5, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

of course the tea party gains are going to be republican losses. the tea parties are funded by republicans, organised by republicans and lauded in republican media outlets like fox.
it's not a movement, its a rebranding in an attempt to loss the baggage of those eight disasterous years under republican george bush and dick cheney.

Posted by: MarilynManson | May 5, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

The poll offers rational Americans thin comfort since the teabaggers ARE the GOP. One can only hope that by November, Americans will become familiar with their racism, their stupidity and general cluelessness.

Right along with the birthers, deathers, gun-toters and other ignorant haters, they form the base of the GOP. It is evidence of their childish ignorance that they don't realize they are tools --just stupid tools -- of the GOP establishment (who, after all, created them).

Posted by: Casey1 | May 5, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Excellent news for America. The party of no has now become a white supremacist reactionary party with no one brave enough to stand up to the extreme right fascist wing of the party.

Posted by: joecoppo | May 5, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse


Casey1 wrote: "It is evidence of their childish ignorance that they don't realize they are tools --just stupid tools -- of the GOP establishment (who, after all, created them)."


Very true. They are also tools of the health insurance and oil companies, as well as the banking industry.

Posted by: TheDukeStir1 | May 5, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives are jerks.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | May 5, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

This makes bipartisanship impossible and governing problematic. Legislation requires compromise. Any Republican who is willing to compromise in any way and deviate from hard-line idiocy becomes vulnerable to tea party challenge.

We have already seen this on health care with Grassley being scared off and Bennett likely losing his seat. McCain is being challenged into submission (if he doesn't also lose his seat). Bennett seems to me to be very conservative but not a hard-line idiot. McCain has been politically lobotomized as a defensive measure.

We are seeing the Republican Party being purged of anyone who doesn't toe the line dictated by the hard-line idiots.

Posted by: StanKlein | May 5, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't it Newt Gingrich who called the tea party crowd the "militant wing of the republican party?" Newt, the history perfessor, must have forgotten that even Nathan Bedford Forrest quit the KKK that he, himself, founded when those good ol' boys became to militant for him. Whither the tea party?

Posted by: JohnBrown08 | May 5, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry but the Republicans and the Tea Partiers have totally lost me. I was a NY Republican (Guilani, Pataki, Bloomberg, D'Amato) for 20 years, but now that I have moved to Florida I do not recognize the GOP. Here they are constantly pushing a hard right, Christian Conservative line on social issues i.e. Big Government in the bedroom, while doing little to scale back taxes. Where are the moderates?

I've gone independent now. May vote for Crist (though he's been lame on taxes) but in no way can I vote for the religiou types who seem to have taken over the GOP and the Tea Party.

Posted by: alonzoQuijana | May 5, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

To hear the so-called Christians in the Republican party and to a larger degree the Tea Party nuts and their supporters talk, all they really represent is an America where people can own guns and earn a living, and expect traditional values in society.

Funny, I had a roommate in college whose father was a Klan member (the roommate never admitted to being one, though). My then roommate, in explaining why the Klan was simply a misunderstood group of patriots said that all they wanted was "an America where people can own guns and earn a living, and expect traditional values in society". You make the call.

Posted by: map529 | May 5, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Could the WaPo/ABC get any more naive? You had to take a poll to find out if the tea party people support the GOP? Of course, you still believe that Dems make up 50 percent of voters, Ind 25 and GOP 25. Hello? A lot us Dems who supported candidates other than Obama are too disenchanted to vote for Dems again, and especially not that still-inexperienced skinny guy occupying the WH.

Posted by: William18 | May 5, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse


In a curious bit of timing, the Tea Party formed when a black man became chairman of the Republican Party.

Once Michael Steele disappears, so will the Tea Party.

Posted by: motorfriend | May 5, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

A Washington Post, ABC News Poll? Wow. That's all I need to know. Liberals have tried their best to demonize average Americans who stand up for what they believe in. They set the tone ahead of the election to label anyone who disagree's with Obama as a racist. How easy is that. You don't have to discuss the real issues or facts, you just throw out the word racist and watch all the white guilt crowd run for cover. The Black Community is to stupid to see that Liberals take them for granted. They know overwhelming majority of them vote Democratic regardless of the issue.

Posted by: Cobra2 | May 5, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

You guys love polls as long as they agree with your view. How about recent poll that indicates average Tea Party member is more educated then general population and more wealthy. Glenn Beck did awesome show yesterday outline all the rich Democrats. He played Obama's remark behind them, "How much money is to much". It was fascinating. Obama built his wealth wrting books about himself which is ok with Liberals. But how about a guy like me who has worked 60+ hours a week for last 10 years building up my business. I'm somehow the bad guy. I have earned my money unlike the Kennedy's, Rockefellers, who inherited their wealth. How about going after those guys. How about Soros, Pelosi and all the other wealthy Liberals. John McCain was questioned about the number of houses he owns but did they ask Obama how he got a sweet heart deal on both his house and land that he purchased in Chicago? Did they ask John Kerry how much it costs to totally disemmble a house over seas and have it shipped back to the US? Did they ask that idiot Michael Moore whey he hates Capitalism so much when it allowed him to amaze an estimated fortune of over $20m? Liberals Suck!

Posted by: Cobra2 | May 5, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

The Tea Party IS a problem for the republicans, because, to get their loud and proud sound bytes, the Republicans had to stir their own far right, and now that far right has an incredible sense of entitlement. They took a pasting yesterday, showed no credibility anywhere, and now get to decide if they go home and sulk or come back and demand more Party attention.

They aren't realists enough to do the former, so watch to see if the radicals decide to split and take on the R's again in the general Election.

The Constitutionists, Conservatives, T's, Libertarians all court the same small fringe on the right, all read that small fringe as THEIR majority, and expect that small fringe to carry them to victory.

Meanwhile they slowly drive every ex Republican with a shred of commonsense or bipartisanship out of the party, reducing the Republicans to an anorectic shell, staggering to its eventual expiration.

Posted by: ceflynline | May 5, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

The Tea Party is the final chapter in the rightward lurch of the Republican party that began with the 'election' of George W Bush. The neo-cons presented themselves as "intellectuals" and hung out in Think Tanks. But then the results of their policies came in: foreign policy failure, economic failure, domestic failure. So now the populists are taking their turn. They have nothing to offer except an appeal to the worst instincts, and we already know that voters will reject them. We don't need a poll. After that, with eight years, twelve years, or even sixteen years of Democratic dominance the result, any moderate Republicans left standing will be able to regain control of the party and start rebuilding.

Posted by: gposner | May 5, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

OK, they're angry. Do they offer our USA anything beside their temper? No bushing way.

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | May 5, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Tea Partiers = hard-right Republicans--that hasn't changed. And so far, all theyv'e done in the primaries is pull the establishment candidates(like McCain) to the right or the GOP has replaced moderate candidates with hard-right ones(like Rubio--who has always been favored by Jeb Bush and the far-right establishment in Florida) without winning any primaries themselves.

So pulling to the right to hold the Tea Partiers will only make them lose moderate independents in the general election. All their anger toward the Democratic incumbents keeps getting preempted by Democratic retirements. It wll be very intersting how this palys out in November.

Posted by: wd1214 | May 7, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

after reading these comments it seems all the anger i hear is coming from the left..I am a supporter of the tea party and I am an independent not a far right wing fringe racist idiot thank you very much..I thought that liberals were open minded and willing to accept everyone..I guess your not so open minded when someone has a different view then you..we are all americans..stop making broad stroke assumptions about people you dont know me or what I think.

Posted by: johnbittle | May 9, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

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