Tea party support tumbles to near-record low, Gallup survey shows


US Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) speaks during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Aug. 29, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.


Mark Wilson

The party may be over for the tea party.

Support for the conservative grassroots movement has hit a near-record low, according to a new Gallup survey released Thursday, as leaders like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz make headlines for their attempts to defund Obamacare and shut down the government.

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Just 22 percent of Americans expressed support for the tea party in the new survey.

The movement was at its peak in the 2010 midterm elections, when Republicans recaptured the House majority and 32 percent of Americans pledged support for the tea party.

Now about half of the US people say they neither support nor oppose the movement, or don't care enough to have an opinion.

Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Utah Sen. Mike Lee are among the most prominent tea party members in Congress. In fact, the first two may run for president in 2016.

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Cruz and Lee have recently re-ignited conservative furor over Obamacare, with the House passing a resolution last week to defund the health care reform law and Cruz staging a 21-hour talk-a-thon over its evils earlier this week.

The latter move sparked some in-fighting among GOP leaders, and Gallup's latest survey reflects a growing disenchantment between the two.

Thirty-eight percent of Republicans support the tea party, according to the survey, while 7 percent oppose it and a majority 55 percent are ambivalent toward the movement.

In 2010, 65 percent of Republicans identified with the tea party.