A new poll says most Americans are at least aware of the Tea Party, and most Republicans support the political movement.
The Harris Interactive poll shows a plurality of Americans support the Tea Party, which includes 59% of Republicans.
This is the follow up to the poll last week that showed many Tea Party followers have some extreme views of President Obama.
Some of the key findings:
- Just over half (54%) of all adults are either very familiar (15%) or somewhat familiar (39%) with the Tea Party Movement. Nearly a quarter (24%) of the public is not at all familiar or has not heard of it.
- A third (33%) of all adults support the Tea Party Movement, and just under a quarter (23%) oppose it. Those who strongly support it (14%) equal those who strongly oppose it.
- Fully 60% of those who are very familiar with the Tea Party Movement support it and only 33% oppose it.
- Fully 59% of Republicans and 36% of Independents support the Movement. Only 9% of Democrats do so.
- When Tea Party supporters were asked to give their first and second choices (from a list of Republicans) for presidential candidates in 2012, the leaders mentioned most often are Mitt Romney (38%), Sarah Palin (36%), and Mike Huckabee (33%). Newt Gingrich comes next with 19%.
The survey shows that the Tea Party is growing in influence. The pollster’s analysis says that could mean some big changes for America’s political system.
This raises the question as to whether the Tea Party Movement will dominate, or even take over the Republican Party. Senator John McCain inviting Sarah Palin to speak for him last Saturday is a sign of the times.
However another possibility is that, as some moderate Republicans distance themselves from the more extreme elements of the Tea Party movement, this may split the party.