For around four years now, the Tea Party movement has had a significant effect on U.S. politics. Candidates from the conservative movement have challenged incumbent Republican legislators, and have in some cases won. This has put pressure on the Republican party to double-down on some of its most conservative positions with a no-compromise attitude.
Though the Tea Party movement remains popular among Republicans, it seems that the U.S. is moving in different direction. A new Gallup poll this week shows that a majority of Americans (51%) now have an unfavorable opinion toward the Tea Party. This represents the lowest favorability rating the movement has seen since Gallup began tracking the metric in 2010.
The timing of the poll suggests that unfavorable opinions of the Tea Party movement may have increased in the past two months. In October, House Republicans shut down the U.S. government in protest over the rollout of the Affordable Care Act - something the Tea Party movement vocally opposes. Political analysts at the time suspected that the threat Tea Party Republicans in the House posed to Speaker John Boehner's position was a large factor in why House leadership pushed the confrontation.
Despite the actions of the Republican party in October, the Tea Party isn't alone in its rising unfavorable rating. Gallup's yearly congressional approval rating for 2013 is 14% - the lowest of any year ever recorded by the polling agency.
The Tea Party movement can also still rely on solid support from Republicans. The new Gallup poll found that 58% of Republicans have a favorable opinion of the movement, while only 28% view it unfavorably.
Slightly less than half of independents (48%) view the Tea Party unfavorably, and an large portion of them (24%) have no opinion on it.
Democrats, of course, have a much different view of the movement. Only 10% of Democrats polled said they had a favorable opinion of the Tea Party, while nearly three-fourths of them (74%) have an unfavorable opinion of it.
(Image courtesy NYyankees51 via Wikimedia Commons)