Tea Party Fever Means Big Cash from Small Donors

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While it's still too early to draw definitive conclusions on the size and impact of grassroots fundraising in this election cycle, the robust political fundraising seen among individual voters this year does contrast with consumer cutbacks on other spending. Americans' average daily discretionary spending has dropped 13 percent since May, according to Gallup, and charitable giving has also been declining sharply.

The latest FEC data shows the 2010 congressional election cycle is on track to be the most expensive in history, with candidates in House and Senate races combined collecting more than $1.2 billion so far.

2010 Election Map: Follow the House, Senate and Governor's Races

Tea Party Trivia: How well do you know the movement? Take the quiz!

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