How do you know you're unpopular these days? It's when you're more unpopular than President Obama. That's the case this week with the Tea Party movement. For the first time, a majority of Americans--53 percent--have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party, just slightly edging past the president's disapproval of 52 percent, according to a recent CNN poll. Disapproval of the barely two-year-old right-wing political movement has finally caught up to Obama's.
Two things seem to be at work. First, everyone is mad at everyone. Tea Partiers can take solace in the fact that they're still much more popular than Congress. The nation's legislature reached an all-time high disapproval rating of 84 percent in CNN's latest poll. Second, more people know what the "Tea Party" is, or at least have opinion of it. Back in January 2010, a plurality of Americans--a full four out of 10--had never heard or had no opinion of the Tea Party, allowing disapproval of the movement to be at an all time low of 26 percent. Since then, though, the movement has gotten plenty of media coverage, and today most Americans--81 percent--have formed an opinion on it. And most of those learning about the Tea Party lately aren't newfound supporters: while the portion of Americans who approve of the Tea Party has remained steady around 30 percent for the past year and a half, the portion who disapprove of it has swelled from a quarter in January 2010 to more than half today.