Many Republicans see tea party challenges as good for GOP: Poll

Al Teague of Myrtle Beach, S.C., holds a flag while attending a tea party rally in front of the U.S. Capitol, June 17, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Mark Wilson, Getty Images

By Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Anthony Salvanto and Fred Backus

While the tea party's record overall this primary season may be mixed, tea party candidates have scored some noteworthy successes this election season, including the defeat of House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.

About half of self-identified Republicans (47 percent) think tea party candidates running to unseat Republicans in Congress is a good thing for their party, but more than a third (35 percent) think it's a bad thing. The percentage who view these challenges positively rises to 77 percent among Republicans who support the tea party.

Few Republicans (just 17 percent) think the tea party movement has too much influence on their party. In fact, the poll find finds a third of Republicans think the movement has too little influence; and about as many think the tea party's influence on the Republican Party is about right.

Views of the Tea Party

Among Republicans nationwide, 36 percent identify themselves as tea party supporters. This is a slight uptick since May, but not at the levels reached in 2010, when about half of Republicans said they supported the tea party movement.

About one in five Americans now consider themselves a supporter of the tea party movement. Support had dropped to 15 percent in May and is now at the level it was in March.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the tea party gets net positive ratings from Republicans, while the movement continues to be viewed more unfavorably among the broader public, which has been the case for years.

Nineteen percent of Americans have a favorable view of the tea party, but more - 29 percent - view it unfavorably. About half have no opinion of the tea party or haven't heard enough to form one.

Americans' opinions of the tea party have improved slightly since May, before Cantor lost his primary race to tea party challenger David Brat, but remain in negative territory.


The Major Political Parties and Independents

While 54 percent of Republicans feel positive about their party's future, Democrats are far more hopeful about theirs. Sixty-nine percent of self-identified Democrats say they are mostly hopeful about the future of their party; just 28 percent are discouraged.

One group that isn't hopeful about the two major political parties is independents - a group both parties target in general elections. Majorities of independents are discouraged about the future of both the Republican (64 percent) and Democratic parties (56 percent).


This poll was conducted by telephone June 20-22, 2014 among 1,009 adults nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News and The New York Times by SSRS of Media, PA. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher Results based on the sample of veterans is plus or minus eight points. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.