Bad news for vendors of tri-corner hats and Gadsden flags.
A new Gallup poll shows that Tea Party identification among Republicans is down 35 percent from 2010, when the loose coalition of activists who used to identify as part of the “Liberty” or “Patriot” movements roared into the public sphere.
Back in those days, about six of ten Republicans (61 percent, to be precise) identified with the Tea Party, according to Gallup. This year, it’s just four in ten (41 percent). Meanwhile, national opposition to the Tea Party is at an all-time high, with 30 percent saying they don’t like the movement.
The data also shows that “Core, conservative Republicans” are most likely to identify with the Tea Party, accounting for more than half of the population that identifies with the group.
Gallup also indicates that those Republicans identifying with the Tea Party are more pumped about voting in this fall’s midterm elections than pretty much anyone else. Some 42 percent of them said they had “given quite a lot of thought” to the midterms, and more than half are “more enthusiastic about voting this year.”
Those figures are substantially higher than those for non-Tea Party Republicans and all other, non-Republican voters.
The data backs up the narrative coming out of North Carolina this week, when many observers cast the results of a U.S. Senate primary as a big loss for the Tea Party: If there was an “establishment” candidate in the race, it was Thom Tillis, who trounced Tea Party favorite Greg Brannon.
Clearly Mitt Romney’s presidential nomination in 2012 was evidence of waning Tea Party support, and currently the Tea Party cannot even claim majority support of the GOP base, further hindering its influence to remake the party in its own image. The results of several high-profile primary contests later this month will be important indicators of the reality of the Tea Party’s influence. Still, whatever else happens, Tea Party supporters will continue to be a presence in American politics because of their apparent motivation and interest in election outcomes, factors that, more than likely, will translate into support for candidates, and higher Election Day turnout.
You can read more from Gallup on Tea Party/Republican ID here.