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.
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
-Ex VP Atiku Abubakar on Restructuring.
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