Is support for the Tea Party drying up and are more Americans looking at the movement negatively? A new poll produced for ABC News says the answer is yes.
Read below and then get The Brody File take:
A major force in the 2010 midterm elections, the movement has stalled in public popularity, its support well below a majority and decidedly lukewarm. And Americans by a broad 23-point margin say the more they hear about the Tea Party movement, the less they like it, rather than liking it more.
That negative buzz has worsened from a 9-point gap in an ABC News/Washington Post poll as the movement was gathering speed two years ago. And its avenues for resurgence may be limited: Interest in learning more about Tea Party is down 7 points from spring 2010.
This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that six in 10 Americans aren’t particularly interested in additional information about the Tea Party, and 41 percent aren’t interested “at all.” Thirty-nine percent have at least some interest, but just 9 percent are very interested. Among those with interest, moreover, more than six in 10 already support it.
All told, 41 percent of Americans identify themselves as supporters of the movement, compared with a high of 47 percent last September. Forty-five percent oppose it; 14 percent have no opinion. Support has dropped disproportionately among young adults in that period, down 20 points from 51 percent to 31 percent.
While overall support is roughly balanced with overall opposition, “strong” opponents outnumber strong supporters by 2-1. But perhaps most damaging is the buzz: Fifty percent of Americans say the more they hear about the Tea Party, the less they like it; just 27 percent say they like it more. That compares with a much closer (albeit still negative) 43-34 percent split on this question in April 2010.
Look, here’s the deal. These numbers need to be put in context. It’s important to separate what the Tea Party stands for from how they go about trying to accomplish their goals.
For example, most Americans would agree with the Tea Party that the national debt is out of control and steps must be taken to rein it in. But as we saw when it came to the debt ceiling debate on Capitol Hill, the Tea Party didn’t have much interest in compromising at all when it was time to strike a deal.
Now, members of the Tea Party can stick out their chest and say that they’re not going to compromise based on principle but what Americans see is that the group has a problem with stubbornness and that turns them off. Until the Tea Party can work constructively within the confines of the legislative process, nothing much will change and they will lose in the court of public opinion.
The real key for the Tea Party is to convince skeptical Americans that they have real solutions to solve tough problems rather than playing into the perception that exists now; that they are AGAINST everything (the debt ceiling increase, Obamacare, etc).
Anger and negativity don’t sell well and it translates into falling poll numbers. Solutions and selling the positives of their agenda is instrumental in not only seeing rising poll numbers but in electing more Tea Party Americans to Congress in the first place.
You have to win the argument based on the merits first before you can advance a movement.