Tea Party Tanks: Latest Poll Shows New Low for Faux Grassroots Movement

National public support for the far-right Tea Party movement has plunged to historic lows, according to new polling released by Gallup on Monday.

The survey shows that only 17 percent of Americans now actively support the Tea Party, while a majority (54 percent) neither oppose or support the faction which has aimed to drag the Republican Party further to the right in recent years.

As Democrats and self-identified liberals continue to represent the largest set of outright opponents, the largest drop in support for the Tea Party comes from so-called “conservative Republicans,” of which only 42 percent are now supportive, compared to 63 percent who described themselves as backers in 2010.

The other significant drop in support, noted Gallup, was among “Republican leaners”—independent voters who lean Republican. Among those voters, support for the Tea Party dropped a dramatic twenty-nine points, from 52 percent in 2010 down to 23 percent this month.

Since first appearing on the political scene in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2007 and the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the Tea Party was largely interpreted as a re-branding of the Republican Party after the political and economic disasters produced by the presidency of George W. Bush. Though many of its supporters spoke of it as an authentic grassroots movement fueled by conservative and independent-minded voters, observant critics—including journalists like George Monbiot and Matt Taibbi—documented how its founding and political development was orchestrated by well-known members of the Republican establishment and other elite interests.

Taibbi, for his part, explained the phenomenon of the Tea Party this way:

Despite such criticisms, however, the undeniable energy created by the Tea Party was widely credited with Republican Party victories in the 2010 midterm election, which returned the House of Representatives to GOP control and swept right-wing governors to power in numerous states across the U.S.

The bottom line of Monday’s polling, according to Gallup, is this:

The Gallup poll on Monday was based on telephone interviews conducted between October 7-11, using a random sample of 1,015 national adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

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