While public approval for Tea Party drops, their power grows

The CNN/ORC International Poll released Tuesday afternoon has bad news for all incumbents - with only 41 percent of people questioned say the lawmaker in their district in the U.S. House of Representatives deserves to be re-elected - the first time, CNN says, that polling on this question shows the figure has dropped below 50 percent. Forty-nine percent say their representative doesn't deserve to be re-elected in 2012.

Of course, though previous polls have never been this bad for incumbents, let's be honest. Most polls historically over the past couple of decades have shown Americans to be down on the institution of Congress, yet as we all know, incumbents get re-elected at an astonishing high level. So will next year really be any different? Obviously, we won't know until next year.

However, the poll also shows that favorable views of the Republican party dropped eight points over the past month, to 33 percent. Fifty-nine percent say they have an unfavorable view of the Republican party, "an all-time high dating back to 1992 when the question was first asked, " CNN reports.

The poll also shows Tea Party support dropping, which must be shocking for those who have been condemning them for, among other things, aiding in Standard & Poor's reducing the country's AAA credit rating:

The poll indicates that Americans' views of the tea party movement have also turned more negative, with 51 percent saying they have a negative view of the two-year-old limited government and anti-tax grassroots movement, with favorable ratings dropping from 37 percent down to 31 percent. Freshman House Republicans elected with major support from tea party activists were instrumental in keeping any tax increases out of the agreement to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

If this is even remotely true, there is something wrong with our system of elective democracy, isn't there? The Republicans at last check controlled only one branch of government, the House. The Dems still hold the Senate and the Presidency.

(And a quick digression: can we please have people, like RNC chair Reince Priebus did in in Tampa last Friday , stop saying that Republicans control just "one half of one third of the government"? No, they actually control all of one branch of government, the House, because of their majority there. Just like the Democrats control another third in the Senate, because they hold the majority there).

The Tea Party movement has absolutely changed this country, some saying for the better, others saying for the worse. What they have shown is that you don't even half to have the majority of this country to be with you to help an outsized influence on it. The election and re-election of Richard Nixon in the late 1960's and 70s showed that even though the progressive movement was responsible for an amazing amount of changes in this country back then, it was arguable if it was the majority (remember Nixon's invoking the "Silent Majority," as being the part of the country that supported him?).

Just taking a peak at what's happening this year (and last) in the Florida U.S. Senate race makes it apparent that the Tea Party remains ascendant in controlling the agenda of the Republican Party of Florida, and for that, its members should walk proud.

Some political pundits are predicting that 2012 will be yet another so called "wave" election, as the American public continues to be frustrated and act fickle at the polls.

If so, it would be the fourth straight time that's happened in national elections, with a big anti-George W.Bush fervor allowing the Democrats to take over the House and Senate in 2006, strengthen those margins in the election that brought Barack Obama to power in 2008, followed by the powerful repudiation of the Obama/Democratic party agenda in 2010.

The question that nobody seems to know the answer to in terms of 2012, however, is which party will be on the winning side of that next wave.

One thing is for certain however, at least according to one national poll in the summer of 2011. That is that after the debt ceiling imbroglio, "the folks" as Bill O'Reilly describes the public, aren't feeling much love for the GOP, or the Tea Party in particular.

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