Have Republicans taken over the Tea Party movement? Or is it actually vice-versa?
Much of what polling analyst Mark Blumenthal offers HERE involves charts and graphs and such, but if you’re a political junkie like me, you’ll find it interesting.
A few excerpts:
As negotiations continue over raising the debt limit, Republican leaders are at odds with their own base, amid reports that their electoral coalition is breaking down. Public polling data illustrating the growing importance of the Tea Party vividly depicts the intra-party split and demonstrates the pressure Republican leaders now face.
Virtually all of the Republicans who think of themselves as part of the Tea Party (91 percent) say they are following the 2012 campaign closely, and roughly two-thirds (65 percent) say they are following it very closely. In contrast, less than half of the Republicans who do not support the Tea Party (45 percent) say they are following the campaign, and only 10 percent are following it very closely.
Taken together, these findings have important consequences for both the ongoing debate over raising the debt ceiling and the upcoming 2012 campaign.
First, the Tea Party wing of the Republican primary is the most attentive and thus most likely to turn out in next year’s caucuses and primaries. These data imply that Tea Party-first Republicans will have a disproportionate impact in 2012.
Second, as McInturff observed in November, the strongest Tea Party-first Republicans are in no mood for compromise. They are the no retreat, no surrender wing of the Republican party. Their willingness to identify more with the Tea Party than with Republicans as a whole speaks to their desire to take stronger stands than they perceive the Republican party establishment as willing to take.
Third, and perhaps most important, the Tea Party-first Republicans are not some minor faction within the Republican party. They are the heart and soul of its base, the most active and committed Republican voters.