Schumer’s War on the Tea Party

by Andrew Stiles

Yesterday, I wrote about Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D., N.Y.) latest effort to score political points by blaming the Tea Party for all of the country’s woes. “By linking the GOP to its extreme Tea Party fringe,” Schumer wrote in a memo to his colleagues, “Democrats can bolster the prospects for the President’s jobs ideas, or at least make clear who is responsible for the stalling of the recovery.”

Per Schumer’s suggested talking points, the “extreme” opposition of “Tea Party Republicans” to President Obama’s jobs bill risks causing a “Tea Party recession.” And so on.

To bolster his case, Schumer cites the Tea Party’s “growing unpopularity” and recent polling data that appears to indicate that the movement’s popularity is on the decline.

However, a just-released Wall Street Journal/NBC poll paints a different picture, finding unfavorable opinions of the Tea Party to be statistically unchanged from the results of a similar poll taken October 28-30 of last year, on the eve of the 2010 mid-term elections (and we all know how well those turned out for Schumer’s party):

  • October 2010 — 32 percent favorable, 40 percent unfavorable
  • October 2011 — 28 percent favorable, 41 percent unfavorable
    • Margin of error: 3.1 percent

And as far as Tea Party supporters themselves are concerned, they’ll see Schumer and his colleagues at the polls in 2012.