August 12th, 2011
12:00 PM ET

Tea Party sparks more antipathy than passion

By Lydia Saad, Gallup

More Americans consider themselves strong opponents of the Tea Party movement than strong supporters, by 20% to 14%, and the ratio is a similar 22% to 15% among registered voters. When factoring in those who support or oppose the movement but not strongly, the opposing groups are more evenly matched, with 25% of Americans in total classified as Tea Party supporters and 28% as opponents. About 4 in 10 Americans as well as registered voters say they neither support nor oppose the Tea Party.

Relationship to Tea Party Movement, August 2011

Gallup has previously measured support for the Tea Party movement, but this is the first time it asked a follow-up question that probes intensity.

One of the more striking findings of the Aug. 4-7 USA Today/Gallup poll is that nearly half of self-described liberals, 48%, consider themselves strong opponents of the Tea Party, significantly greater than the 30% of conservatives calling themselves strong supporters. Similarly, by 39% to 31%, there are more strong Democratic opponents than strong Republican supporters. Among independents, 14% are strong supporters and an equal number are strong opponents.

Relationship to Tea Party Movement -- by Political Ideology and Party ID, August 2011

Adults 35 and older are slightly more likely to call themselves strong supporters of the Tea Party movement than are those 18 to 34. Also, consistent with racial differences in party identification, whites are more supportive than blacks of the Tea Party. Gallup finds little difference between men's and women's relationship to the movement.

Read: Americans want new debt supercomittee to compromise.

Residents of the East are less likely than those in other regions to be strong Tea Party supporters, and the East has the highest percentage of strong opponents. The South, however, is the only region where strong supporters outnumber strong opponents (17% vs. 11%).

Relationship to Tea Party Movement -- by Demographics and Region, August 2011

Tea Party Support Dips to New Low

At 25%, overall support for the Tea Party among U.S. adults is similar to the previous low of 26% found in October 2010. Support increased to 32% last November - immediately after the 2010 midterm elections - and held at 30% in January and April of this year before dropping to the current new low.

Read: Tea Party supporters oppose debt deal.

Overall opposition to the Tea Party movement, now 28%, is about average for where it has been since early 2010, while the 42% saying they are neither supporters nor opponents is a new high.

March 2010-August 2011 Trend in U.S. Adults' Overall Support for Tea Party Movement

Bottom Line

The national Tea Party movement appears to have lost some ground in popular support after the blistering debate over raising the nation's debt ceiling in which Tea Party Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate fought any compromise on taxes and spending. Fourteen percent of Americans consider themselves strong supporters of the Tea Party movement, and, perhaps not coincidentally, 12% of the public consists of conservative Republicans who wanted members of Congress who shared their views on the budget to hold out for a deal they could agree with. That is according to a July 15-17 Gallup poll on the debt ceiling debate.

Read: Related material from Gallup on the Tea Party movement.

Along with the decline in overall support for the Tea Party from 30% to 25% in recent months, Gallup finds more Americans holding intensely negative feelings toward the movement than intensely positive feelings. It thus appears that, to date, the Tea Party's leadership and activities may have been more successful at galvanizing the movement's opponents than expanding its base of passionate supporters.

Read more over at Gallup.

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Topics: Politics • Poll • United States

soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    If Michele Bachmann got elected, the world would just laugh, that's the best you have, right?

    August 12, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Reply
  2. Brandt Hardin

    If you are Tea Party, you are a terrorist. Sarah Palin is a mouthpiece for the Tea Party which represents nothing but hatred and dissension. Her rhetoric and violence-inciting imagery IS a form of terrorism and a prime example. She held Jared Lee Loughner’s hand while he murdered people with his misguided sensibilities. I was compelled to draw a visual commentary showing her handing him the gun on my artist’s blog at She'll go to any lengths and keep spewing her insanity for that attention (and the money of course.)

    August 12, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Reply
  3. M Holden

    As an Independent, (also an X Republican voter & Tea Party person), unfortunately standing with Michele Bachman against the Health Care Bill; I tell you that the original Tea Party movement, Is Not now what it was then. Back then, it was protesting the Government Takeover of Healthcare, senior TP people were opposing the 500 billion taken from Medicare (boy were they deluded) Tea party was against the Big Corporation and Bank Bailouts. They weren't emphasizinng Grover Norquist and his "no tax pedge" , they were not for letting Corporations get away with offshore tax havens, unfair tax loopholes. They Definitely were not for cutting or privatizing Social Security and Medicare (that would give it to Wall Street, and we have seen the ups and downs of Wall Street). They would take the money and run. Its such a "Big Lie" Now we have "No Tax Pledges" to Grover Norquist; more cuts in Medicare, Social Security coming; demands for less regulations, drill baby drill theology, "destroy the US economy if I don't get my way." TheTea Party today and Tea Party Repub. are backed by Corporations and are trying to fulfill their demands. Citizens United has allowed this. I feel that the original Tea Partiers, including Seniors were duped into voting for these people. We have to take our country back and not believe the Lie again!!!

    August 13, 2011 at 11:39 am | Reply
  4. Tatiannay Sternodg

    Hi every one, here every one is sharing these experience, so itis pleasant to read this blog, and I used to go to see this web site all the time.

    July 28, 2012 at 8:20 am | Reply

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