Takeover: 71% of Republicans now tea-party supporters

The other 29 percent are all invited to my next Beltway cocktail party. I kid, I kid.

In the survey, 71% of Republicans described themselves as tea-party supporters, saying they had a favorable image of the movement or hoped tea- party candidates would do well in the Nov. 2 elections…

The poll found that tea-party supporters make up one-third of the voters most likely to cast ballots in November’s midterm elections. This showed the movement “isn’t a small little segment, but it is a huge part of what’s driving 2010,” Mr. Hart said…

The tea party is a major driver of the so-called enthusiasm gap, with three-quarters of supporters saying they are intensely interested in the election…

Mr. McInturff said the tea-party movement had not necessarily drawn new people into the GOP. Rather, he said, “a substantial chunk of the Republican Party is rebranding themselves.”

Yeah, McInturff might be right on that last point. Check the crosstabs and you’ll see that the tea party’s overall favorable rating is only very marginally better than the GOP’s — 30/36, right around where it’s been for the past six months, as compared to 31/43 for the Republican Party. Elsewhere in the poll, though, 42 percent say that the tea party has been good for American politics versus just 18 percent who say it’s been bad. I’m not sure how to square that with the favorable numbers, unless maybe even some TP detractors think grassroots movements are good things per se even if they disagree with the particulars of a movement’s agenda.

Other tidbits? Although the GOP’s lead on the generic ballot has shrunk from nine points to just three as more Dems start tuning into the campaign, they still retain a double-digit lead among those who are “intensely interested” in November. Credit tea partiers for that. Bill Clinton is now/once again the most popular politician in America, enjoying a favorables split of 55/23 versus 47/41 for Obama. (They didn’t poll Hillary.) Count on Billy Jeff having a very busy schedule from now until November 2. And finally, the poll is gruesome for Palin, whose own favorables stand at 30/48. That -18 spread is 10 points better than Pelosi but actually one point worse than … Harry Reid. She also fares badly in a question posed by the Journal about certain outcomes from the November election that voters might find acceptable or not acceptable. The most acceptable outcome was seeing the influence of special interests reduced; the split on that was 70/14. The least acceptable outcome among the ones offered was seeing Palin become the leading spokesperson for the GOP. That split was 30/55 overall, notwithstanding the fact that she’s viewed favorably by two-thirds of tea partiers. If you’re wondering why David Plouffe is suddenly muttering about a “Beck-Palin-Limbaugh wing” of the GOP to anyone who’ll listen, that’s why.

Update: Jack Cafferty throws down the gauntlet.

Update: I neglected to mention one other intriguing data point from the crosstabs: The number who say Obama’s mostly responsible for the state of the economy as opposed to having inherited it from Bush is now at an all-time high — but it’s still at just 32 percent. Fully 56 percent remain in the “inherited” category, and yet the Democrats are facing a Republican tsunami anyway. Bear that in mind the next time someone tells you this election has nothing to do with anything except unemployment.

Jazz Shaw Jun 22, 2021 6:01 PM ET