WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Americans' support for the Tea Party has plunged in the lead-up to yet another budget battle that could spark a government shutdown, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday.
Twenty-two percent of Americans now say they support the Tea Party, whereas 32 percent of Americans supported the party at the height of its popularity in November 2010, days after Republicans captured the majority in the House.
The party's opponents now outnumber supporters 27 percent to 22 percent.
The poll comes a week before a possible government shutdown, with Tea Party-backed Senator Ted Cruz spearheading the movement to tie funding of the government to the de-funding of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare legislation.
Opponents of Obamacare maintain the law is a job-killer that will cause insurance premiums to skyrocket. The law's supporters contend it will make health insurance available to millions of previously uninsured Americans.
Tea Party opponents also lead supporters in intensity. The majority of Tea Party opponents call themselves strong opponents, while supporters are evenly divided as "strong" and "not strong supporters," Gallup found.
The net result is that 17 percent of Americans consider themselves strong opponents of the Tea Party, in contrast with 11 percent who are strong supporters, similar to the balance seen in 2011, the poll found.
The poll suggested that the partnership between the Tea Party and the Republican Party (GOP) may be waning.
Although some of the Tea Party's most visible representatives in politics today are associated with the Republican Party, and while rank-and-file Republicans are more likely to call themselves supporters than opponents of the Tea Party movement, a far greater number identify as neither, Gallup found.
Establishment Republicans are making an effort to re-vamp the party's image after what they viewed as a surprising loss to Obama in last November's elections, when the country's high jobless numbers topped the list of Americans' concerns.
Polls suggest that a government shutdown would backfire on the GOP, causing the vast majority of Americans to blame Republicans in general for any closure, even though many Republican leaders oppose a shutdown.