A fitting complement to last night’s funereal New Hampshire results. This is from a poll of (1,000) likely voters too, not just adults, so if you find yourself wondering later this year why you’re not hearing candidates tout the tea-party brand as much, here’s why:
More voters than ever dislike the Tea Party, and a sizable number thinks the grass roots movement will hurt Republicans in this year’s elections. But most GOP voters don’t agree and see the Tea Party as good for them in November.
Among those who describe themselves as neither Democrats nor Republicans, i.e. independents, the spread is 17/49. I wish I could show you all the crosstabs but Ras puts those behind a reg wall, so I’ll give you one key snippet. The question asked was whether the impact of the tea party on the budget debate made things better or worse for the country. The choices, in order from top to bottom, were “better,” “worse,” “no impact,” “not sure.” Behold:
Note the “other” column. What Rasmussen means by “budget debate” is debatable, but I assume most people understood it to be a reference to the debt-ceiling standoff this summer. An NYT poll taken right after that ended in early August showed a spike among people who said the tea party has too much influence over the GOP, from 27 percent in April to 43 percent. The idea that Republican freshmen were gung ho to let Treasury hit the ceiling was always overstated — the final deal passed comfortably — but the ones who insisted on brinksmanship evidently made an impression. In fact, according to Ras, not only is the TP’s favorable rating now at 31/47 (26/48 among independents), but just 13 percent say they consider themselves part of the movement. In polls of adults, that number typically runs in the mid-20s to low 30s. Either the movement’s shrunk considerably or there’s an alarming gap in tea-party support between Americans generally and likely voters. I can’t imagine why that would be — you’d think politically conscious TPers would be overrepresented among likely voters, not underrepresented — but it is what it is. No wonder Romney’s cruising.