At this point, I’m used to support for the Tea Party being mischaracterized in news coverage of polling. 

The negative always is the focus, and actual analysis of the persistency of support hovering between 1-in-4 and 1-in-5 Americans is ignored:

With the release of the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, the strength of the Tea Party has been ignored in favor of focus on rifts in the Republican Party and the generic congressional ballot looking better for Republicans.  Those other topics are important and worthy of coverage, but why isn’t the surge in Tea Party favorability since the partial government “shutdown” getting coverage?

Wait, what?!  Favorability of the Tea Party has surged since the partial shut down of some of the government?  Isn’t the narrative supposed to be that the Tea Party is toast?

Here are the internals for the NYT/CBS poll

Favorability has risen from 14% in late October to 21% currently! Surge! Unfavorability has dropped by 5% too. Overall favorability actually has returned to its historical norm, but that in itself is a story.

An overwhelming majority do not have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party, with almost half undecided or not having heard enough.  Most of the unfavorability comes from Democrats:

CBS-NYT Poll February 2014 Q 70 Tea Party Favorability

You could slice and dice this into great headlines reflecting well on the Tea Party in America.  But you won’t see those headlines.

Why the surge in favorablity and decline in unfavorability? Perhaps it’s because the massive media attack on the Tea Party after the “shutdown” was overblown, and the Tea Party was proven correct on so many things, particularly Obamacare.

As to whether the Tea Party has too much influence, the numbers also are postive although not dramatic:

CBS-NYT Poll February 2014 Q 71 Tea Party Influence

In late October 40% felt the Tea Party had too much influence, that has dropped to 37%.  Combining those who feel the Tea Party does not have enough influence or  has the right amount, the number has gone from 48% to 45%, largely due to the 6%  increase in those who answered Don’t Know or did not answer.  There’s no surge either way here, but a steady reflection that a strong majority of those who answered (45%-37% of total) do not feel that the Tea Party has too much influence.

Those who consider themselves supporters of Tea Party is essentially unchanged.  While a majority are not supporters, the favorabilty ratings demonstrate that lack of “support” does not equate to an unfavorable view:

CBS-NYT Poll February 2014 Tea Party Support

So despite unprecedented attacks on the Tea Party from the media and the Republican leadership, support for the Tea Party remains steady, and favorability has rebounded dramatically since October.

Does. Not. Fit. The. Narrative.


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