This primary season has been a very mixed bag for the tea party. Just two weeks after one tea party-backed candidate unexpectedly took down Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), another lost to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) in a runoff election that most believed Cochran was likely to lose.
Americans, too, are unsure about both the tea party's current strength and its future prospects, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. Almost 30 percent of respondents said the tea party's influence in American politics has increased over the past two years, while 27 percent said its influence has stayed the same and another 20 percent said its influence has decreased.
There was even less agreement about how influential the tea party will be in the coming years. Twenty-six percent of Americans predicted the tea party's influence in politics will increase in the next two years, 24 percent said its influence will stay the same, and 23 percent said the tea party's influence will decline.
Republicans and Democrats expressed differing views about the tea party's future. Forty-six percent of Republicans said the tea party's influence will increase in the next two years, compared to just 10 percent who said its influence will decrease. In contrast, 18 percent of Democrats predicted the tea party's influence will grow in the next few years, while 34 percent said its influence will decline.
Americans were somewhat less divided about the impact the tea party has had on Congress. Only 8 percent of respondents said Congress has accomplished more than it used to as a result of the tea party's influence, while 35 percent said Congress has accomplished about the same and 37 percent said Congress has accomplished less.
The poll also found that about one-third of respondents said they support the goals of the tea party movement, while another third said they oppose the movement's goals. Twenty-one percent said they neither support nor oppose the goals of the movement.
Support for the movement's goals was unsurprisingly split along partisan lines. Sixty-seven percent of Republican respondents said they are supportive of the tea party's goals, compared to 32 percent of independents and just 11 percent of Democrats. Only 5 percent of Republicans said they oppose the movement's goals, while 25 percent of independents and 60 percent of Democrats expressed the same opinion.
Only 13 percent of respondents said they actually think of themselves as part of the tea party movement, while 69 percent said they do not.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted July 2-July 3 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.
The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here.
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