A new Rasmussen poll released on Oct. 29 found that voters are split evenly on whether they agree with President Obama or the Tea Party. The poll found that 42 percent of likely voters agree with President Obama and 42 percent agree with the Tea Party. The remaining 16 percent are not sure.
Voter agreement with both the Tea Party and President Obama declined slightly since 2010 when Rasmussen last asked the question. At that time, 48 percent felt the Tea Party represented their views and 44 percent sympathized with Obama.
Agreement with the Tea Party does not translate into approval, however. In May 2013, at the onset of the IRS targeting scandal, 44 percent had a favorable view of the Tea Party. In the Oct. 29 poll, only 30 percent of voters approved of the grass roots group. Fifty percent had an unfavorable view and 19 percent were undecided. Thirty-four percent view the Tea Party as good for the country while 43 percent say it is bad.
The decline in Tea Party approval may be tied to the recent government shutdown. Polling since the shutdown began found Republican approval at historic lows as reported earlier by Examiner. Tea Party Republicans are widely blamed for having caused the shutdown. Related polling shows the Democrats leading the Rasmussen generic congressional ballot by a seven point margin. For most of the year, prior to the shutdown, the parties were in a dead heat.
The Oct. 29 poll does show that most voters believe the Tea Party is more influential in the wake of the shutdown than before. Tea Party Republicans Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) were instrumental in the attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act that led to the shutdown. Thirty-two percent call the Tea Party more influential in the past year versus 25 percent before the shutdown.
In June, a Rasmussen poll found that almost as many supporters of President Obama viewed the Tea Party as the biggest terrorist threat to the nation than radical Muslims. Only 13 percent of voters held this view.