Dislike of Tea Party Is Key to 2012 Vote

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Members of the New Hampshire Tea Party protest against former Massachusetts governor and republican candidate for president Mitt Romney.

Bummed-out voters will decide based on who sucks less

Saw this item in Mother Jones, thought it was worth pointing out. Apparently a new CNN poll is showing the unfavorability rating of the Tea Party is rising in polls:

Just 28 percent of Americans hold favorable views of the tea party, an all-time low in the 19 months that CNN/ORC pollsters have gauged Americans' feelings about the movement. At the same time, 53 percent of Americans think poorly of the tea party, an all-time high. According to CNN/ORC, the movement's popularity peaked in the spring of 2010, when 38 percent of Americans said they liked the tea party and only 36 percent said they didn't.

The status of public sentiment toward the Tea Party might very well end up dominating the next presidential race. Next year's election is almost certainly going to be one of the all-time bummer-fests, where voters are probably going to go to the polls depressed about the state of the world and are more than ever going to be driven to decisions about whom to vote for based on their calculation of Who Sucks Less.

That's why you're going to hear some very weird and seemingly contradictory poll results in the next year. We're already starting to see results showing Obama with some seemingly staggering negative numbers, like this one showing his disapproval rating in the key swing state of Ohio at 53 percent. “President Obama’s standing among Ohio voters is back to its lowest ever,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, which commissioned the study.

But that same polls still has Obama essentially beating both Rick Perry (44-41) and Mitt Romney (44-42). Romney is an interesting case because voters probably do not associate him with the Tea Party and he therefore might not be encumbered by the Tea Party's negatives next year, but someone like Perry or Bachmann will have trouble overcoming an incumbent for the simple reason that a lot of people are freaked out by the Tea Party's strident public posture. Even if both Obama and the Tea Party have negatives over 53 percent, it's hard to win an election if your positives are only in the twenties.

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