After the party, where goes the tea?
The country divides: Three in 10 in the latest ABC News/Yahoo! News poll would like to see the Tea Party political movement form a separate political party of its own. Nearly as many would rather it remain a force within the Republican Party. And a quarter just want it to go away.
The results, in a survey produced for ABC and Yahoo! News by Langer Research Associates, marks the promise and the challenge of the Tea Party movement as it contemplates life beyond 2010. On one hand (albeit apples to oranges), support for forming a new party, at 31 percent, is well over the 19 percent Ross Perot garnered in his independent presidential campaign in 1992.
On the other, it means seven in 10 feel otherwise: Twenty-eight percent instead want to see the Tea Party as an element of the Republican Party. Twenty-five percent would like to see it “disband and leave the political scene.” And that leaves a substantial 16 percent undecided.
There are differences among groups. Most Republicans would like to keep it all in the family: Fifty-five percent of Republicans would like to see the Tea Party continue as a force within the GOP. But that leaves a substantial 45 percent who divide among other preferences – a separate party, 23 percent; disband, 11 percent – or can’t yet say, 12 percent more.
Independents and Democrats are much less apt to want to see the Tea Party as an element of the Republican Party; 24 percent and 16 percent, respectively, pick this option. About a third of independents and Democrats alike, 34 percent, would like to see it form a new party – more than the number of Republicans who say so. This could reflect strategic thinking, with Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents suspecting an independent Tea Party would weaken the GOP.
Eschewing strategy, an additional 34 percent of Democrats, and 27 percent of independents, would best like the Tea Party just to boil away.
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