Views of Congress, tea party reach new low in poll

Chris Moody
Political Reporter
The Ticket

The marathon negotiations that led to the debt ceiling deal seemed to leave an indiscriminate trail of casualties in Washington. And now a new opinion poll has proven as much, with public views on the debt showdown dealing severe hits to all parties--centrist compromisers and principled hardliners alike.

Not all the anger is necessarily aimed at Washington, however. Public perception of the tea party movement, which many see as the driving force that kept Republicans from voting to raising the debt ceiling without implementing unprecedented spending reductions, is at a record low. In a New York Times/CBS poll released Friday, 40 percent of respondents said they held an "unfavorable" view of the movement, up from 29 percent before the debt negotiations began in April, and higher than any number since pollsters started asking the question last year. One in five respondents said they approved of the tea party, down from 26 percent a few months ago.

Congress, as usual, fared the worst. The legislative branch almost never gets high marks from the public, but never before has it earned this level of disapproval. Eighty-two percent in the poll said they disapprove of how members of Congress are doing their jobs--the highest such rate since 1977, when the poll was first taken.

President Obama, on the other hand, was the only one to really escape the negotiation process without deeply damaging blows to his perception, the poll suggested. Almost half (48 percent) said they approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president, a number that has remained stable since late 2009.

Click here for the full results from the poll.