The Republican Party's most conservative wing has become increasingly hostile toward GOP congressional leadership, a Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday shows.

chart7

Fewer than three in 10 Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who agree with the tea party (27 percent) say they approve of the job GOP congressional leaders are doing. Roughly seven in 10 (71 percent) say they disapprove.

Approval has dropped 15 points since February, while disapproval has risen by 17 points. Meanwhile, the opinion of non-tea party Republicans has held much steadier, as the chart to the left shows.

Dissent between GOP leaders and the strictest conservatives in the party spilled into public view once again this week. As The Post's Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane report, House Republican leadership has trying to build support for a vote on a measure to fund the government through the middle of December. The plan would also include a provision to defund President Obama's health-care law, as many conservatives are demanding.

But because of the way the bill is structured, the Senate could vote down the part that defunds Obamacare and send the rest of it on to President Obama. And that has angered lawmakers and groups on the political right. Now, the House is delaying a vote as leaders figure out how to proceed.

The Pew poll shows that neither Democratic nor Republican congressional leaders enjoy very strong approval ratings.Just 33 percent of Americans approve of the job Democrats are doing, while just 24 percent say the same about Republicans.

The slight advantage for Democrats can be attributed to a more united base. Fifty-seven percent of Democrats and Democratic leaders approve of the jobs their party leaders are doing, compared to just 36 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners.

chart6709

The Pew poll is the latest sign of discord in GOP circles. A July Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that Republicans and GOP-leaning independents are increasingly unhappy with their party’s leadership.