Poll: The sagging popularity of the tea parties
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll includes questions about the tea parties that have the nascent movement's popularity slipping badly. Overall, since the last poll, the percentage of Americans who hold an unfavorable view of the movement has jumped from 39 percent to 50 percent. The leading edge of that has been a collapse in support from 18-29-year-olds. In March, they had a positive, 43-38 view of the tea parties. They've swung hard to a negative view, 27-60.
One result that surprises me: a seeming tumble in tea party support from white Southerners. In March, only 30 percent had an unfavorable view of the movement. Now, it's 45 percent.
I don't think this is really a sign of anti-incumbent anger ending -- the results on voter views of incumbents dispel that notion. Since the last poll, however, we have had two months of news about tea party-identified Republicans winning their primaries or leading in them, which has started to diminish the independent brand of the movement. We had, in Rand Paul, a candidate nationally identified as a "tea party" icon, who quickly identified himself and the movement with philosophical but politically toxic ruminations about whether America still needed anti-discrimination laws. The dip in support is not intense -- it's mostly from people with newly "somewhat" negative views.