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

KNOW 'EM? -- As noted, many of the sentiments about it can fairly be described as tentative, since the Tea Party has far to go in making its positions broadly known. Thirty-five percent of adults say they know a great deal or good amount about what it stands for; that leaves nearly two-thirds who are less well-informed about it.

People who are better informed are much more apt to support the movement -- 66 percent in this group agree at least somewhat with its positions. Among those who know less about it, many fewer, 34 percent, tend to agree with it, and nearly as many have no opinion. The question for the movement is whether, as its positions become better known, it gains adherents, or loses them.

One final set of results underscores that challenge. While the Tea Party promotes limited government, some of its supporters have different views on government health care mandates. Sixty-two percent of those who say they agree at least somewhat with Tea Party positions also say the government should require businesses to provide health insurance for employees.

Even more, 71 percent, say government should require insurance companies to sell coverage to people regardless of pre-existing conditions. And while shy of a majority, a substantial share of Tea Party supporters, 43 percent, say government should require all Americans to have health insurance, from their employer or another source, with financial assistance for those who need it.

METHODOLOGY -- This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Feb. 4-8, 2010, among a random national sample of 1,004 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results for the full sample have a 3.5-point error margin. Click here for a detailed description of sampling error. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

ABC News polls can be found at ABCNEWS.com at http://abcnews.com/pollingunit.

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