According to a May 21, 2013 poll by Rasmussen Report, 44% of likely voters have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party movement, a jump up of 14% points since January. A second poll by CNN/ORC International, May 17, 37% of the public—a broader sample than just voters—supported the Tea Party. This was a jump up of eleven percentage points—to the highest level CNN had measured since 2010. CNN’s Political Ticker quoted several sources, including Tea Party leaders, who claimed that the IRS “scandal” had given the Tea Partiers a lift up.
The CNN data showed that the highest level of support was in the South and West. The lowest level (alongside the highest level of opposition) was in the Northeast. Support was heavily white and suburban, as opposed to rural.
An interesting twist on the data was buried in the poll findings. While Tea Party support went up, the Republican Party went down by three points. In March, 38% of the public were “favorable” to the Republican Party. In May, that number went down to 35%. Support and opposition to the Tea Party movement is not completely the same as support or opposition to the Republican Party.
Rasmussen also found a solid 44% of voters were unfavorable towards the Tea Party. CNN’s more comprehensive poll found 45% unfavorable; a number that had dropped down by 5% points since last November. Less people were unfavorable than six months before.
The conclusion is undoubted: The Tea Party movement has found new layers of support, while its opponents have lost some ground due to neglect. A stronger, smarter effort is needed by anti-racists and human rights advocates to slow the Tea Party Leviathan.