Senior Citizens Most Likely to Favor Slumping Tea
Party in New Pew Study
Despite giant swing away from favorable view of
political rebels, seniors emerge from government shutdown as still its biggest
By Tucker Sutherland,
29, 2013 - The popularity of the Tea Party has plummeted following the
government shutdown, according to an extensive research report by the
Pew Research Center. This study also finds senior citizens are one of
the two age groups leading the swing away from a favorable opinion of
the political group, yet, surprisingly, still its biggest supporter.
“The Tea Party is less popular than ever, with even
many Republicans now viewing the movement negatively,” according to the
report, Tea Party’s Image Turns More Negative.
“Overall, nearly half of the public (49%) has an
unfavorable opinion of the Tea Party, while 30% have a favorable
“The balance of opinion toward the Tea Party has
turned more negative since June, when 37% viewed it favorably and 45%
had an unfavorable opinion. And the Tea Party’s image is much more
negative today than it was three years ago, shortly after it emerged as
a conservative protest movement against Barack Obama’s policies on
health care and the economy,” says the Pew analysis.
In June, senior citizens - age 65 and older - were
the age group with the most favorable opinion of the Tea Party movement,
with 42% having a favorable view and 43% unfavorable. This is the
highest favorable rating and the lowest negative rating among the four
age groups measured by Pew (see chart).
This month - October - the favorable rating by
seniors had dropped to only 33% and the unfavorable had jumped to 49%.
This represented a 9% negative swing in the favorable rating, which was
second only to the youngest adults - 18-29 - that had a negative swing
Despite the huge swing among seniors in the
favorable rating, they are still ranked as the age group with the most
favorable view of the Tea Party. At only 33% favorable, they are one
percentage point more favorable than the 50-64 year olds.
Pew analysis says:
“In February 2010, when the Tea Party was less well
known, the balance of opinion toward the movement was positive (33%
favorable vs. 25% unfavorable). Unfavorable opinion spiked to 43% in
2011 after Republicans won a House majority and Tea Party members played
a leading role in that summer’s debt ceiling debate.
“The Tea Party’s favorability rating has fallen
across most groups since June, but the decline has been particularly
dramatic among moderate and liberal Republicans. In the current survey,
just 27% of moderate and liberal Republicans have a favorable impression
of the Tea Party, down from 46% in June.”
The national survey by the Pew Research Center was
conducted Oct. 9-13 among 1,504 adults. It finds “wide divisions between
Tea Party Republicans and non-Tea Party Republicans in how they view
major issues, some leading GOP figures and even the relationship between
the Republican Party and the Tea Party itself.”
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