More Americans would vote for a "Tea Party" candidate than a Republican, according to aRasmussen poll released Monday that quizzed voters on a hypothetical three-way ballot. Respondents were asked to assume that the "Tea Party" was an organized new party, despite the fact that it is highly unlikely the grassroots conservative movement that has gained momentum this year will become a third party.
A majority of Americans said they would vote Democratic (36 percent), while the number who said they would vote "Tea Party" (23 percent) slightly edged out Republican voters (18 percent). Another 22 percent say they were undecided.
Among voters not affiliated with either party, the Tea Partiers had a clear advantage: 33 percent said they would support a Tea Party candidate, compared with 30 percent who said they were undecided, 25 percent Democrat and only 12 percent Republican.
My quick take: This provides more evidence that the break from the GOP we recently witnessed in New York's 23rd district—in which Doug Hoffman overtook the official Republican candidate on a tea party-powered campaign—may not be a fluke or mere regional trend. And it underlines what we already knew about the American right—that its energy is not with the Republican party, but with dissident limited-government activists fed up with the two-party system, and in particular with a GOP they no longer trust.
Side question: If there were a Tea Party candidate, would he/she represent the Tea Party? Or the Tea Party Party?
Previously, Reason Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch chronicled his experience with the 9/12 march on Washington and examined charges that tea parties are racist.