Overall, 47% of the public says they think of the Tea Party movement as separate and independent from the Republican Party, while somewhat fewer (38%) say it is a part of the Republican Party, and 14% do not offer an opinion. Attitudes on this question are little different from when it was asked in April of 2011 and November of 2010.
More Republicans view the Tea Party as a separate movement from the GOP (51%) than as part of the Republican Party (32%). Opinion is nearly identical among independents (51% separate, 36% part of GOP). By contrast, Democrats are about as likely to say the Tea Party is part of the Republican Party as to say it is separate (48%-41%).
The Republican base is somewhat divided over what the Tea Party represents. Republicans and Republican leaners who agree with the Tea Party see the movement as separate and independent from the GOP, by a 52% to 41% margin. Republicans and Republican leaners who do not agree with the Tea Party see the movement as separate from the Republican Party by a more one-sided 55%-27% margin, with 17% offering no opinion.
Since April 2011, Tea Party Republicans have become more likely to see the Tea Party movement as part of the GOP. In 2011, Republicans who agreed with the Tea Party said the movement was separate from the GOP by a 67%-29% margin (38-point gap); today, that margin has narrowed to 52%-41% (11-point gap). A Pew Research survey conducted in early October found that over the past two years Tea Party Republicans also have become somewhat less likely to say Republican leaders in Congress are paying too little attention to the ideas of the Tea Party.