Poll: Tea Party Shows Prospects; Less So for Sarah Palin

As noted, conservatives are among the Tea Party's best groups; 63 percent agree with its positions at least somewhat, vs. 38 percent of moderates and three in 10 liberals. Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, likewise, 63 percent agree; that drops to 22 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.

Similarly, among people who disapprove of Obama's job performance, 65 agree with the movement on issues. Among opponents of health care reform it's 62 percent. And among Americans who are angry at the way the federal government works, 69 percent agree with Tea Party positions. Agreement drops dramatically among those who aren't angry, to 39 percent.

ANGRY? -- Anger, however, while present, is not vast. Nineteen percent of Americans say they're angry with the way the federal government works. An additional 48 percent are dissatisfied but not angry, for a net negative of 67 percent.

While anger is well up from its low, 6 percent early this decade, it's also been higher -- 25 percent in October 1992, a time, like now, of broad economic discontent, in which voters rejected George H.W. Bush's bid for a second term. (It also was a time in which desire for new alternatives fueled Ross Perot's independent run for president; he finished with 19 percent of the vote.) Net dissatisfaction peaked in fall 1992 at 81 percent, 14 points higher than it is now.

While 19 percent of Americans are angry, that rises to 30 percent of people who agree with the Tea Party's positions, including 52 percent of those who "strongly" agree.

Anger is linked with economic discontent; it peaks at 26 percent among people who say the economy hasn't begun to recover, and falls to 8 percent among those who say the recession's over. In a similar gap, agreement with Tea Party positions rises to 53 percent among people who see no economic recovery yet, compared with 32 percent of those who say the recession's ended.

OTHER FACTORS -- There are other factors in Tea Party support. It peaks among people who are more apt to see the government as wasting money; people who strongly agree with the movement say on average that the government wastes 63 cents out of every tax dollar it collects. People who disagree with the Tea Party see less waste, albeit still a lot -- 47 cents on the dollar.

Tea Party supporters are more apt to classify themselves as anti-incumbent -- 64 percent of those who strongly agree with its positions do so, as do 53 percent of those who somewhat agree, compared with 40 percent of those who disagree. And the movement's conservative, Republican base shows up in vote preferences for the midterm elections. Among registered voters who agree at least somewhat with Tea Party positions, Republicans hold the lead over Democratic congressional candidates by a very wide 70-22 percent.

PROFILE -- One way to tie up these threads is with a profile of people who agree strongly and agree overall with the Tea Party movement, compared with those who disagree. For example, 87 percent of people who strongly agree with the movement are Republicans or Republican-leaning independents. By contrast, among those who disagree, 26 percent are leaned Republicans.

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