Not Their Cup of Tea: The Republican Establishment Versus the Tea Party

With the 2013 government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis now behind us, one conclusion seems inescapable — this was a disaster for the Republican Party. While both major parties received negative reviews from the American public for their performance in the crisis, it was the GOP that took by far the bigger hit to its image and standing in national polls. In the midst of the crisis, the Gallup Poll found that the percentage of Americans rating the Republican Party unfavorably was the highest ever recorded for either party since they began asking the party favorability question in 1992. …

The shutdown and debt limit impasse were almost exclusively the work of the Tea Party and its allies inside and outside of Congress. …

Evidence from the 2012 American National Election Study (ANES) makes it very clear why the Tea Party poses a serious threat to the future viability of the Republican Party in national elections. But these data also show why any attempt by the GOP establishment to challenge the influence of the Tea Party will be very risky and could easily backfire. CONT.

Alan I. Abramowitz, Sabato’s Crystal Ball