Blaming America’s woes on the Tea Party is par for the course these days, but after the IRS begrudgingly admitted they targeted conservative political organizations for ideologically purposes, it seems the Tea Party is undergoing something of a political revival. In fact, a new Rasmussen poll shows that a plurality of respondents have a favorable opinion of the grassroots movement -- up 14 percentage points since earlier this year.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 44% of Likely U.S. Voters now have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party. That's up 14 points from Januarybut still down from April 2009's high of 51% when the Tea Party protests against President Obama’s spending policies first erupted.
Forty-four percent (44%) also now view the Tea Party unfavorably, although that's down five points from earlier this year. The latest findings include 18% with a Very Favorable opinion of the movement and 25% with a Very Unfavorable one. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
I’d say those are some pretty encouraging statistics -- not least because Democrats have blamed the organization for literally everything: obstructionism in Congress, deadly and horrific mass shootings, and -- laughably -- for the IRS scandal itself. Unsurprisingly, though, Republican support for the organization is through the roof:
Eighty percent (80%) of Republicans now view the Tea Party favorably, up from 61% in January. Forty-two percent (42%) of voters not affiliated with either major party share that view, compared to 29% at the beginning of the year. Just 14% of Democrats hold a favorable impression of the movement, but that’s still double the level measured in the previous survey.
Views of the IRS controversy clearly color opinions of the Tea Party. Just 19% of voters who accept the IRS' explanation that low-level employees in its Cincinnati office were responsible for targeting the Tea Party view the movement favorably. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of those who believe someone in the White House made the decision to target the conservative groups have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party.
Similarly, 83% of voters who think it’s Very Likely other government agencies targeted conservative groups have a favorable impression of the Tea Party. Those who find this possibility to be less likely have a much less favorable impression of the anti-tax/small government group.
Needless to say the Tea Party is going to be superlatively influential during the 2014 mid-term elections. So perhaps the left-leanin’, Tea Party hatin’ government bureaucrats at the IRS should have thought about that before picking a fight they were never going to win.