The tea parties movement is now so unpopular that they're a liability for the Republican Party. For a clear example, see the chart below  showing how more and more Americans have developed an unfavorable opinion of them over time. Support for the Teaparties has topped out: they've been stuck around 30% since they began. However, all the while opposition to them has been rising. And, that opposition has been mostly growing among those who make less than $50,000 per year (see the update here): lower middle-class folks are wising up to the fact that being useful idiots for billionaires like the Koch family and the corporations who fund the groups who promote the teaparties isn't a good idea.
Opposition to them is now so high that they're a liability to the GOP in general. In some very conservative states (Utah, Texas, the Deep South) or very conservative districts the GOP might do OK by pandering to the teapartiers, but elsewhere they're becoming electoral poison.
There are two options for the supposed "patriots": either move to a mainstream, pro-American position (such as finally concentrating on immigration and other "social" issues), or fade away. They aren't smart and sane enough for the first, so expect the latter. The GOP has more power and influence than the teaparties (despite the Koch family), and as a liability to the GOP their GOP mainstream support will fade away the closer we get to the 2012 elections.
 Via Nate Silver (link), the chart shows "all polls from the PollingReport.com database that asked people for their impressions on the Tea Party, and then plotted a smoothed regression line on top of them".
Thu, 03/31/2011 - 21:49 · Importance: 4