There may have been no winners in the shutdown, but there were definitely losers.
16 days of government shutdown, combined with a bargaining strategy that earned them nothing, polls show Americans are less than fond of the Tea Party– and it may stay that way.
At the height of the budget negotiations a Pew Research poll showed the Tea Party’s unfavorable rating at 49%. This loss of esteem crosses all party lines, but the decline was most notable among moderate and liberal Republicans who, down from 46% favorability in June, boast a mere 27% favorability rating of the Tea Party. Alienation of moderates is not a new characteristic for the Tea Party, who saw its grand surge in the House during the 2010 midterms, but previously held notions that the GOP majority is safe are now being tested by poll data that shows contentions in previously safe Republican districts. A new release from the Cook Political Report shows that 14 races previously favored for the GOP are now up for grabs.
But while the Tea Party itself suffers plummeting ratings, the shutdown’s engineer and ring leader in the Senate - Texas’ Ted Cruz - has seen a boost in his Tea Party support. Cruz’s numbers are up from 47% in July to 74% in the recent Pew poll. But the shutdown that plummeted Cruz into the spotlight could also be his undoing. As he continues to use the threat of another shutdown in January as a negotiation tactic his popularity among non-Tea Party Republicans is at 25%.
On a national level, the more Americans learn about him, the less they seem to like him. According to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll 28% don’t favor him, while 14% see him in a positive light.