Tea party membership on the decline

September 26, 2013

Republicans who rode the tea party wave to a huge victory in the 2010 elections are now increasingly disassociating themselves from the movement, according to a new poll.

The Gallup poll shows 38 percent of Republicans consider themselves tea party supporters, compared to 65 percent who said the same in November 2010, when Republicans took more than 60 House seats from Democrats.


Republicans are not openly against the tea party — just 7 percent say they oppose the movement — but more than half decline to take a side.

Overall support for the tea party is also on the downswing, with 22 percent of all Americans saying they affiliate with the movement. That's down from a high of 32 percent in 2010 and from 26 percent in early 2012. Slightly more — 27 percent — say they oppose the tea party, while 51 percent have no opinion.

While the tea party label isn't as big a force in American politics, polling has suggested that its ideals — particularly its anti-establishment attitude, including toward the national GOP — remain as strong as ever.

A recent Washington Post-ABC news poll showed 52 percent of Republicans were unhappy with their party's leadership, and multiple polls have shown the GOP remains more in favor of sticking to conservative principles than compromising on key issues — something that has caused Republican incumbents to watch their right flank in primaries.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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Aaron Blake | September 26, 2013