Monday, national polling agency Rasmussen released findings that suggested GOP candidates for Congress may be better off running as Tea Party candidates. Unaffiliated voters like to Tea Party. Conservative voters like to Tea Party. Even Republican voters are nearly split in their preference between Tea and GOP.
In a three-way Generic Ballot test, the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds Democrats attracting 36% of the vote. The Tea Party candidate picks up 23%, and Republicans finish third at 18%. Another 22% are undecided.
Among voters not affiliated with either major party, the Tea Party comes out on top. Thirty-three percent (33%) prefer the Tea Party candidate, and 30% are undecided. Twenty-five percent (25%) would vote for a Democrat, and just 12% prefer the GOP.
Among Republican voters, 39% say they’d vote for the GOP candidate, but 33% favor the Tea Party option.
For this survey, the respondents were asked to assume that the Tea Party movement organized as a new political party. In practical terms, it is unlikely that a true third-party option would perform as well as the polling data indicates. The rules of the election process—written by Republicans and Democrats–provide substantial advantages for the two established major parties. The more conventional route in the United States is for a potential third-party force to overtake one of the existing parties.
Republican voters are paying a lot more attention to the Tea Party movement than anyone else. Forty-three percent (43%) of GOP voters are following news about the movement Very Closely. Another 30% are following it Somewhat Closely. Just 12% of Democrats are following stories about the Tea Party movement Very Closely.
Seventy percent (70%) of Republican voters have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party movement while only seven percent (7%) offer an unfavorable view. Interestingly, 49% of Democrats have no opinion one way or the other.
Among unaffiliated voters, 43% have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party efforts while 20% say the opposite.
As for the voting preference, the Tea Party bests the GOP among both men and women and in all age groups except those over 65.
Among the Political Class, not a single respondent picked the Tea Party candidate.