As you can see from the above chart, the GOP's tea party supporters are growing restless with their party's approach to the deficit. Although a bare majority continue to think Republicans are better on fiscal issues, the proportion of tea party supporters who don't see a difference between the GOP and the Democratic Party has more than doubled since the election.
Presumably, tea party supporters want to see the GOP cut deeper, harder, and faster. The problem for them is that we've got divided government. The only way you can move forward in divided government is to compromise. Otherwise everything grinds to a halt. But that is precisely what most tea party supporters would like to see happen, according to a CNN poll taken earlier this month.
The CNN poll showed that while tea party supporters wanted to see a federal government shutdown by a 62%-34% margin, most Americans want to avoid a shutdown. This puts Republicans in a tough political spot: their base is demanding a shutdown, but most Americans oppose the GOP's tea party base.
On balance, most House Republicans understand it would be a disaster for their party to shut down the federal government, but a significant number either haven't figured that out or simply don't care. As a result, John Boehner was forced to rely on Democrats to pass in order to pass last week's stop-gap funding bill.
Now, Boehner must decide whether to continue moving in that direction towards bipartisanship and compromise to allow the country to move forward, or whether he's going to give in to the extreme right of his party and shut down the federal government. It's pretty clear what the GOP's tea party supporters want him to do; the question is whether he'll have the political courage to stand up to them.