(CNN) -- Nearly half of all Americans have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party movement, putting it in the same company as the Democratic and Republican parties, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday indicates that 32% of the public have a favorable view of the two-year-old anti-tax movement, which also calls for less government spending and a more limited role for the federal government in our lives. The 32% favorable rating is down five points from December.
The people questioned for the poll who say they have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party is 47%, up four points from December and an increase of 21 points from January 2010. That number is virtually identical to the 48% unfavorable ratings for both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in the same poll.
"This is the first time that a CNN poll has shown the Tea Party's unfavorable ratings as high as those of the two major parties," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "It looks like the rise in the movement's unfavorable rating has come mostly among people who make less than $50,000."
The Tea Party movement's unfavorable rating rose 15 points since October among lower-income Americans, compared to only five points among those making more than $50,000. Roughly half of all American households have incomes under $50,000.
"It's possible the drop among lower income Americans is a reaction to the Tea Party's push for large cuts in government programs that help lower-income Americans, although there are certainly other factors at work," Holland added.
The Tea Party was born in early 2009, as a protest movement against the Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known as TARP or the Wall Street bailout, which was implemented by President George W. Bush in the autumn of 2008, and against the federal stimulus plan, officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, that President Barack Obama passed through Congress in early 2009.
The grassroots movement became a player in Republican party politics over the past two years and Tea Party activists were instrumental in helping the GOP win back control of the House and narrow the Democratic majority in the Senate in last November's midterm elections.
According to the poll, 46% have a favorable view of the Democratic Party, with 48 percent saying they see it in a negative light. For the Republican Party, 44% of those questioned say they have a favorable view, with 48% saying they hold an unfavorable view.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey was conducted March 11-13, with 1,023 people questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report