The Tea Party Is Less Popular Than It Used to Be, for Some Reason

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It looks like Congress's latest fiscal crisis is finally coming to an end, and the tea-party Republicans who engineered it have emerged the opposite of victorious. Unsurprisingly, they are now also deeply unpopular with the rest of the country — and that includes the more reasonable members of the GOP. A Pew Center Poll released today shows that between June 2013 and this month, the percentage of Americans who view the tea party unfavorably rose from 45 percent to 49 percent, while those who view it favorably dropped from 37 percent to 30 percent. The percentage of Democrats who view the tea party "very unfavorably" increased from 40 percent to 51 percent. Those figures aren't particularly surprising, but the damage to tea partiers' standing among their fellow Republicans is extreme.

While 46 percent of self-identified moderate and liberal Republicans approved of the tea party back in June, only 27 percent do now. The tea party's favorable rating among self-identified conservative Republicans has fallen from 74 percent to 65 percent. In fact, most of the GOP doesn't want to be associated with the tea party at all: While 41 percent of self-identified tea party members see themselves as part of the Republican party, only 27 percent of non–tea party Republicans say the same. But there is a silver lining for at least one tea partier here. Though the percentage of non–tea party Republicans who view Ted Cruz unfavorably has risen from 16 percent to 31, Cruz's favorable ratings among his own kind have soared from 47 to 74 percent.