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Beyond the Primaries: How Much Impact Will the Tea Party Have Now?

5 years ago
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While the primary season has ended with many upsets involving candidates supported by Tea Party activists, the question now is whether the movement will have anywhere near the same impact on the general electorate beyond whether the candidates they supported do well or not on Election Day.
A CBS News/New York Times poll conducted Sept. 10-14 suggests not, at least at this point of the campaign. Sixty-three percent of all Americans said they did not support the movement compared to 19 percent who did. Eighteen percent answered "don't know."
Forty-seven percent of those who say they are registered voters are undecided or haven't heard enough about the movement to have an opinion of it.
Fifty-four percent of Tea Party supporters identified themselves as Republicans as did 38 percent of independents. Less than one in 10 Democrats support the movement.
In previous surveys, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted Aug. 26-30 said 49 percent were aware of the Tea Party but not interesting in voting with it. A CNN poll conducted Sept. 1-2 said 40 percent viewed the movement unfavorably, 36 percent see it favorably, 10 percent never heard of it and 14 percent had no opinion.
So far this year, Tea Party activists got behind former House Speaker Marco Rubio in Florida whose surge among Republicans prompted Gov. Charlie Crist, once considered a shoo-in, to leave the party and run as an independent. Three-term Sen. Robert Bennett of Utah, a longstanding conservative but considered by activists to be too entrenched in Washington ways, didn't even qualify for the primary ballot after Tea Party favorites outpolled him in a state party convention.
In Kentucky, Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul, rode a Tea Party wave to the GOP Senate nominate beating establishment candidate Trey Grayson who had risen through party ranks and Colorado's Ken Buck did likewise by defeating former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton. In Alaska, Palin-backed Joe Miller upset Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski for the GOP nomination.
The story was the similar in the year's final primaries on Tuesday. Little-known Christine O'Donnell upset longtime congressman and former governor Michael Castle for the GOP Senate nomination in Delaware and Carl Paladino, a millionaire real estate developer, beat favorite Rick Lazio for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in New York.

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September 15 2010 at 9:18 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

The status quo has been shaken. When Bush admin mouthpiece Karl Rove blatantly throws a Tea Party GOP winner to the dogs you KNOW that all of the power elite are worried, Republican, and Democrat alike. The Republicans wrongly believed that they could coast to a majority on the coattails of the Tea Party . The Democrats, feeling the pressure from the GOP, and the Tea Party, uses the media, and Hollywood to attack both. The more they do that, the more they expose themselves. The MACHINE is being exposed. We have had enough! This will be again a Government of the people, by the people.

September 15 2010 at 8:08 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dkerr87's comment

are you know one iota of what it is like to be a politician.. These tea baggers do not seem to be very educated and look at some of their choices. The Tea Party ruined the GOP....backfire! too bad!

September 16 2010 at 12:46 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

Too many established media and political figures totally underestimate the frustration of the American public with "politics as usual" that supports people who's primary concern and interest is getting re-elected, rather than putting the welfare of this nation first. Also, it's generally felt that too many in politics and the media no longer hold to traditional values such as character, honor and integrity. It seems that their typical approach to issues is "what's in it for me". I believe these concerns are felt by the vast majority of the population, regardless of political party, and this frustration will be demonstrated in November when we all go to the polls.

September 15 2010 at 7:38 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

I believe most of you are missing the major point. The Tea Party is only a manifestation of an abusive irresponsible government. And IT IS NOT JUST OBAMA...I will agree with our dem and liberal friends on one point ...this began long before's just that this administration has made the tyranny cystaline. The tea party IS A GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT,,,,it will not be stopped because critical mass has been reached. It is and will continue to stream roll ahead because as much as the dems and libs refuse to admit it, it is every day folks who finally awoke to the reality of the recklessness of this and previous administrations.. . ALL THESE GATHERED PEOPLE WANT IS RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT!!!!WHY IS THAT FRINGE OR RADICAL...WHY???

September 15 2010 at 6:24 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

The key to the results of the November 2 election is totally dependent on turn-out. If the Republicans and the Tea Party show up in numbers greater than 50%, their candidates have a chance of winning. Should the Republicans and the Tea Party supporters turn out in numbers equal to or greater than the Democrats, the Republican Party will regain control of both the House and the Senate. Obama's Presidency will be finished. It's all up to enthusiasm. In 2008, Obama had the support of over 90% of some voting groups while Republicans sat at home. The election will be effectively won or lost in the next six weeks, not on election day.

September 15 2010 at 6:22 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
Mrs T

Anyone who pays taxes should be a member of the TEA Party! We are taxed enough already! Remember when BHO said he was going to go through the budget line by line with a finetooth comb. Hasn't happened! Like many others, I just want my tax$$$ used wisely. Cut the riduculous overspending! When you want additional funding, cut somewhere else. SIMPLE! Use our tax dollars like they were your own!!!

September 15 2010 at 6:02 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

The once-proud Republican party has been taken over by the Tea Party group. As an Independent voter , what I have seen, read and heard of the Tea Party would,in no way, cause me to give them my vote or financial support. Their behavior towards the President can only be described as shameful and, sadly, there is no defined Republican leader to tell them to tone it down. It seems the more off-the-wall and crazy a candidate becomes, the more they are supported by the Tea Party and Sarah Palin who, herself, is not a woman I would want to see in any elected office of substance. These are not the people who should be running our country.

September 15 2010 at 5:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to valofnc's comment

What shamefull behavior are you refering to that's any more shameful than what dems and repubs say to each other? Who are the off-the -wall crazy candidates that are any more off-the-wall than the radical progressive candidates who want to control the world? I too am an independent voter. The Tea Party gets my support and money. At the present time, just about anyone is better than the progressive, socialist, establishment takeover we've experienced the last 40 years.

September 15 2010 at 5:56 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

The Tea Party stands for "Taxed Enough Already," or "No taxation without representation.? It's not going away, so get used to it. It's not a racist organization, because there are a goodly number of minorities involved in this movement.

September 15 2010 at 4:45 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

The American people are so angry . They did not get it when they lost Ted Kennedys seat and now they will lose Bidens and many more . Hang on to your hat the best is yet to come .

September 15 2010 at 4:10 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to vernon's comment

And you realize your power has one foot on a bananna peel and the other on the way out of DC. You underestimate the real power of the ballot box. This is less about dems vs GOP and more about restoring sanity in Washington. Once you understand that you will begin to see why the "Kennedy" seat in Massachusetts no longer sits on that side of the aisle. Was that a primary too? Do you think that might just smell like a continuing trend. The man from Chicago with his paper thin resume and background as a community organizer can go back where he came from ... which no one seems to really know!

September 16 2010 at 11:30 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

They will have as much impact as voters give them. They will continue to fight for our freedoms, limited government spending, private enterprise and lower taxes. The tea party movement does not like what's going on in WA and either do I. I like some of their candidates and others not so much, so what? They can't take over my mind, I will vote for the candidate I think fits my political beliefs.

September 15 2010 at 4:09 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

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