Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
It's hard out there for a tea partier.
The upstart conservative movement was all the rage in the summer of 2009, and channeled that energy into a wave of victories in the 2010 midterm elections, sending dozens of hard-line, intransigent Republicans to Congress. However, a new CNN/ORC poll (PDF) out Tuesday shows that the pendulum of public opinion has swung away from the tea party.
Just 28 percent of Americans hold favorable views of the tea party, an all-time low in the 19 months that CNN/ORC pollsters have gauged Americans' feelings about the movement. At the same time, 53 percent of Americans think poorly of the tea party, an all-time high. According to CNN/ORC, the movement's popularity peaked in the spring of 2010, when 38 percent of Americans said they liked the tea party and only 36 percent said they didn't.
CNN's polls aren't the only ones to pick up a decline in support for the tea party. In a pair of Pew Research Center polls conducted in February 2010 and August 2011, disapproval of the tea party jumped from 18 percentage points; the percentage of those who said they liked the movement increased from 33 to 36 percent. Washington Post-ABC and Wall Street Journal-NBC polls also found declining support for the tea party from 2009 to 2010.
More interesting tidbits from the new CNN/ORC poll: Hillary Clinton remains one of the most popular public figures in American politics, with a 69 percent favorable rating and a 26 just unfavorable rating. She beats out Vice President Joe Biden (42-41), First Lady Michelle Obama (65-28), House Speaker John Boehner (37-39), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (23-33).