The Tea Party, which began in the early years of the Obama’s administration, had a lot less support than today’s anti-Trump Women’s marches.
You can see that in this graph of data from the Washington Post, which in late January 2017 asked about support for the Women’s marches, and earlier queried about Tea Party support in April 2010.
The difference is substantial — 60% support for the Women’s marches and just 27% for the Tea Party.
Do the popularity of these protests matter? Yes.
Tea Party activities ramped up in opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Repealing the ACA, even if there’s some sort of substitute (which would cover fewer people with weaker coverage), will cause further protests.
The Women’s marches were remarkable, with millions gathered through the country and the world. More participated in Washington, D.C. than attended the Trump inaugural.
It’s increasingly easy to organize events via text message and social media. Just look at what happened last weekend as people quickly gathered all around the country to protest Trump’s Executive Order on refugees and immigrants.
The Tea Party had an impact on the 2010 midterm elections, which then limited what President Obama was able to accomplish. Its focused energy influenced Republican legislators to oppose Obama administration policy and brought voters to the polls.
If these early anti-Trump protests and associated political activities — letter-writing campaigns and the like — continue, remain highly popular and even grow, they will likely make a real political difference.