WASHINGTON — As negotiations continue over raising the debt limit, Republican leaders are at odds with their own base, amid reports that their electoral coalition is breaking down. Public polling data illustrating the growing importance of the Tea Party vividly depicts the intra-party split and demonstrates the pressure Republican leaders now face.
Many national media polls now track the number of Americans who consider themselves Tea Party “supporters.” As shown below, most now find between 25 and 30 percent of respondents fall into that category, with no consistent trend over the last year.
Republican pollster Bill McInturff has taken this measurement a step further in the polls he conducts with Democrat Peter Hart for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal. Since October of last year, their surveys have asked those who identify or lean Republican and consider themselves supporters of the Tea Party to choose the term that describes them better, between “supporter of the Tea Party Movement” and “Republican.”
According to a presentation McInturff posted on his company website, in the NBC/Wall Street Journal surveys conducted in October 2010, this question split Republican voters into roughly thirds.
“IPOB is being sponsored by those I will call the Coalition of the politically disgruntled and the treasury looters. They believe that by sponsoring this group to destabilize the country and trigger chaos, they will realize their ambition of escaping justice and then be free to dip their hands into the nation’s treasury again.”
-Lai Mohammed(Nigeria’s Information Minister on IPOB)
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