4 Former Tea Party Stars With Bleak Futures

When you are a politician finding out that some people do not like you is no big deal. A large number of people not liking you may cause a little worry. When only 38% of your constituency approves of the job you doing, however, that is a cause for worry. That is situation Governor Bobby Jindal (R-La.) currently finds himself in.

Jindal was elected in 2008 and proceeded to enact a whole set of conservative polices. Several of his policies including his education plan, won the support of Tea Party organizations such as FreedomWorks. But now facing public disapproval over his policies such as his new tax initiative, it seems that grasping towards the right is causing backlash. I decided to take a look at other prominent Tea Party politicians and see how they fared today.

1. Maine Governor Paul LePage


Maine Governor Paul LePage was elected in 2010 Tea Party wave election in a nail bitter of a three-way race against Democratic state Senator Libby Mitchell and independent Eliot Cutler, winning by less then 7,500 votes. During the general election local Tea Party groups coalesced around LePage. When asked two years later by Public Polling Policy about who they would vote for if they had a do over, 43% of respondents chose Cutler, 35% chose LePage, and 19% chose Mitchell.

LePage’s 2014 reelection chances look doubtful. One of the most unpopular governors in the country, he sports a 39% approval rating, which would be disastrous for any reelection chances. Indeed in any two-way matchup, LePage is crushed, losing by at least 8 points. LePage only hope looks to be a repeat of what happened when he was first elected, a three-way race that splits the vote. He wins all of those scenarios if that occurs.

2. Florida Governor Rick Scott


Florida Governor Rick Scott was also elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave election in a close election where he won by less then 1.15% of the vote against his opponent Alex Sink. Three years into his governorship of the Sunshine State, Rick Scott may be facing a reelection crisis with the numbers he is receiving.

A Quinnipiac poll showed Scott with a dismal 36%-49% approval/disapproval rating. In a previous poll in December of 2012, Scott fared hardly better, with a 36%-45% rating. A poll from PPP further supports Scott’s low approval rating, showing him with a 33%-57%. When it comes to reelection, which he has shown all signs of preparing for, Scott is crushed by Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, losing 50%-34% in the Quinnipiac poll. The PPP poll has him fare hardly better with Crist smashing Scott 52%-40%.

3. Wisconsin Scott Walker


Elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker saw battles early in his term, first with massive protests stemming from his controversial budget that eliminated collective bargaining and then a recall election to take him out office.

Walker survived the recall and got his budget passed, with help from Tea Party groups like Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a Koch brothers organization that sunk at least $700,000 into ads to defend Walker during the recall election. Compared to others on this list Walker has a relatively high approval rating, with a March Marquette University poll having him at 50%-44% approval/disapproval. PPP has Walker at a 48%-49% approval/disapproval. However, just because Walker’s rating are not abysmal like some others does not mean that he should rest easy when reelection comes around. In a hypothetical matchup, Walker beats all Democratic challengers except former Senator Russ Feingold, who would win in a nail biter 49%-47% victory.

4. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann


Considered the leading figure of the Tea Party, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is the founder of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress and in 2012 managed to gain enough momentum to turn it into a run for President, actually managing to win the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa. From this high point her star began to rapidly burn out, coming in fifth place in the Iowa Caucuses and ultimately dropping out after that. She would go on to barely win reelection in her district in the fall of 2012, a heavily Republican one with a Cook Partisan Value Index of R+8, by less then 2% margin of 1.2%. Her approval rating has fallen to 35% and she is under investigation for financial improprieties relating to her presidential campaign. And the Tea Party Caucus is as good as dead and buried.

There are many politicians on both sides of the aisle who have low popularity rating. But for those who hitched their wagon to the rising star of the Tea Party, the fall may be especially rough indeed.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Gabriel Rodriguez

Gabriel Rodriguez is currently studying for a Masters in Applied Economics at Georgetown. He is a graduate of New College of Florida with a degree in Economics. He is interested in econometrics, statistical analysis, behavioral economics, and developmental economics.

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