Both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements claim to speak for the disaffected public, but new data show the public doesn't think much of either one.
Less than a third of the public — just 31% — has a favorable impression of the Occupy Wall Street movement, according to the latest IBD/TIPP poll. Forty percent hold negative views.
Impressions of the Tea Party were even dimmer. Only 26% of respondents had favorable opinions, and 46% had negative ones.
The Tea Party-backed congressional showdown over the debt limit and Occupiers' violent clashes in Oakland and elsewhere seem to have exhausted public patience.
Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, which conducted the poll, said the Tea Party has a better chance for a comeback.
"Small government, less spending and reliance on the Constitution is a philosophy that will have perennial support in a center-right country," he said. "OWS is a coalition of liberal groups with multiple objectives. If it can persist remains to be seen."
Indeed, the public remains cool on higher taxes and spending. In Colorado last week, a teachers-union-backed ballot proposal to raise income and sales taxes to boost education spending lost by a 2-to-1 margin.
Tellingly, the Occupiers lack the support of the struggling lower- and middle-income workers they purport to represent. Among people earning $30,000 to $50,000, 24% have favorable opinions and 39% negative ones.
Even among Democrats, less than half — 46% — have favorable opinions and 24% are negative. Independents view them negatively, 39% vs. 32% positive. Republicans have a starkly negative view, 64%-10%.
Only a bare majority of Republicans, 52%, have favorable views of the Tea Party while 19% are negative. Independents skewed negative, 38% vs. 25% positive, while Democrats positively loathe them, 77% to 6%.
Interestingly, despite liberal claims that the Tea Partyers are backed by wealthy corporate groups, those earning $75,000 or more have the most negative views, with 51% disapproving.
Both groups emerged as populist reactions to the weak economy. The Tea Party traces its origins to the backlash against government bailouts in 2009 and helped the GOP retake control of the House the next year.
The group pushed Republicans to oppose raising the government's debt ceiling without a deal to cut spending. Democrats claimed they were holding the economy hostage.
"When you start getting involved in politics, you start taking some knocks," said Adam Brandon, spokesman for FreedomWorks, a conservative group allied with the Tea Party. "We let ourselves get boxed into a corner in the media debate."
A deal was struck in August to create a congressional "super-committee" to try to cut the deficit. The poll found that by a 2-to-1 margin, 65%-32%, most had little confidence in it.
The poll of 901 adults nationwide was conducted Oct. 31 to Nov. 6. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 points.