Both Bill Hennessy and Dana Loesch have written recent pieces acknowledging that the tea party movement is losing momentum (though of course offering their own spin). They accept the results of a recent poll that show that half of the population now has an unfavorable opinion of tea parties, compared to only 36 % that has a favorable opinion. As Dave Weigal points out, one of the main drivers of this drop in popularity is the complete collapse of support amoung young people:
The leading edge of that has been a collapse in support from 18-29-year-olds. In March, they had a positive, 43-38 view of the tea parties. They've swung hard to a negative view, 27-60.Hmmm, aren't those the folks that faux-hipster Loesch is supposed to be drawing in? Anyway, the data clearly shows that people are not impressed with the tea party's extremist rhetoric and obnoxious antics, as much as our media would like to believe otherwise. The local tea party has been propped up almost exclusively by their media connections: exactly the kind of back-room good old boys network privileges that they claim to oppose.
Now that the tea party has admitted that they're losing popularity, will the local media acknowledge that fact? I'm not holding my breath. First of all, they like the "conservative revolution" narrative way too much. They'll be flogging that plot line waaay after the rest of the world is completely bored by it. But even if they did report on the tea party movement's loss of momentum, history suggests that they'll be most likely to mindlessly follow the tea party spin on the numbers. Their stories probably won't even bring up the possibility that people are losing interest in the tea party because their rhetoric is off-putting: instead it will be some story about how conservatives are "shifting tactics," or "they always knew that tea party movement would be temporary," or "it doesn't matter what people call themselves because the real movement is still strong." In most stories, the local media goes out of their way to get both sides of an issue, but when reporting on the tea party they have been almost universally content to simply pass on the tea party spin on itself unfiltered and unchallenged by anyone else's opinion.
I'm glad to see that the tea party movement is losing momentum so badly that even they acknowledge it. However, there's been enough horrible news going around that the November elections are still going to be extremely tough for Democrats. These are crucial elections too, as the people in control of the state governments will be in charge of redistricting, and we all remember from last time that Republicans have no qualms about using the most shameless redistricting tactics to try to entrench their power. Progressives need to be prepared to fight hard for the 2010 elections, or we might be in trouble for a long time.