Conducted by Winthrop Univ. in Rock Hill, the survey found that only 5.3 percent of all registered voters in the state claim themselves to be supporters of the Tea Party, and only 8.2 percent of self-identified Republicans support the group.
In a similar study done in Oct. 2010, 19.2 percent of South Carolina voters said they were members of the still-new political movement; 29.8 percent of all Republicans in the state supported the Tea Party at that time, as well.
This drop in membership and support in the last two years leads to a notable decline in overall opinion of the movement, as well.
In 2010, the study found that 77.1 percent of Republican-favoring voters agreed with Tea Party principles, and 49.8 percent of all likely voters did.
According to the more recent survey, however, a lower 59.2 percent of Republicans said they approve of the Tea Party, and only 28.8 percent of all in South Carolina do.
This recent drop in South Carolina support coincides with recent problems the movement’s having nationwide, it seems.
On Nov. 30, former Rep. Dick Armey (R-Texas) resigned from his position as chairman of FreedomWorks, the non-profit conservative group credited with creating the Tea Party.
Armey’s departure was on apparently bitter terms, too, according to Mother Jones, which was the first media to learn of the development.
Disagreement over direction of the Tea Party and poor recent election results were the basis, Armey told Associated Press.
In his letter of resignation to FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe, Armey prohibited the organization from ever again using his name or image, even after his death, without specific written permission.
Armey also demanded full compensation, which will amount to $8 million.
Four other senior members of FreedomWorks announced their resignations this week, as well.
In the House, 14 congressional representatives who are members of the Tea Party Caucus will not retain their offices, and only four of its 16 endorsed Senate candidates were elected this year.
Tea Party presence in the Senate is further reduced with South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint’s resignation, announced today.
Conducted Nov. 25 through Dec. 2, the Winthrop Poll of 929 South Carolina respondents has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent at a 95-percent confidence rating.