Americans want Tea Party ideas in Republican brew – poll

January 31, 2011

Americans think Republicans should listen to their Tea Party colleagues, not ignore them.

In the aftermath of November elections that gave some Tea Party supported candidates seats in Congress, a Gallup poll finds that most Americans believe that Republicans should take into account Tea Party ideas when they tackle the problems facing the country. OBAMA-SPEECH/

The poll found that 71 percent of adults, and 88 percent of Republicans, say it is important that Republican leaders in Congress consider Tea Party movement ideas. The survey was conducted Jan. 14-16, more than a week before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Jan. 25.

“Despite Americans’ willingness to have Tea Party voices heard, it is not clear that the Republican Party benefits when Tea Party leaders publicly overshadow its own,” Gallup said.

“Indeed, the GOP confronted that issue last week when Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party-sanctioned response to Obama’s State of the Union address seemed to draw attention away from the Republican Party’s official response given by Rep. Paul Ryan,” Gallup said.

“The Bachmann speech highlights the fine line the GOP leadership must walk between Tea Party movement activists and traditional Republicans. About half of Republicans, 52%, say they are supporters of the Tea Party movement. Most others (43%) take no position on the movement, while 5% say they oppose it,” Gallup said.

The Washington Post pointed out that some Republican senators who won seats due to Tea Party support are weighing whether that label will help or “become a scarlet letter.” Three senators who rolled into Congress on the Tea Party wave didn’t join the new Senate Tea Party Caucus, which held its first meeting last Thursday — senators Ronald Johnson of Wisconsin, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania, according to the Post.

Budget season will likely force the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill to decide where Tea Partiers will fit into their message.

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Rep. Michele Bachmann arrives for president’s State of the Union address)

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