Tea Party-backed politicians say voters sent them to Washington to change the tone in the nation's capital and do the people's work. But according to a new poll, they are increasingly ineffective in achieving that goal.
A Pew Research/Washington Post poll finds 29 percent of those asked think Tea Party members have had a mostly negative effect in Congress. That's up 11 percent in the eight short months since most of those members took office.
There are two other pieces of bad news for members who support the Tea Party in this poll. The first is that 35 percent of respondents think the group has not had much of an effect at all. Worse is that 28 percent of independents say that Tea Party members have had a negative effect, while 24 percent of the coveted group say they have had a positive impact. In January, twice as many respondents (29 percent to 14) expected the Tea Party-backed group to have a positive effect.
The recent standoff in Washington over raising the debt ceiling is the latest fight to highlight the divide not only between Republicans and Democrats, but between Republicans and staunch Tea Party members. The most notable Republicans to vote "no" on raising the limit include presidential contenders and Tea Party favorites Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul.
The Pew Research/Washington Post poll was conducted Aug. 4-7 among 1,001 national adults.