The Tea Party movement that propelled Republicans to victory in November shouldn’t be forgotten by GOP leaders in Congress according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll.
Gallup, which conducted the poll between Jan. 14-16, found that 71 percent of adults and 88 percent of Republicans want Republican leaders in Congress to consider Tea Party movement ideas when they are deciding on which issues to take on.
Gallup also found that while there is very little support among Democrats for the Tea Party, a majority of them thought the GOP should listen to their ideas. While Gallup thought this might be due to Democrats thinking the Republicans should listen to their constituencies, it probably has more to do with their view that Tea Party ideas will hurt the GOP.
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. 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.
That’s what the Democrats are hoping for: a potential division within the Republican Party that will give them an opening in 2012.
Even though the Republican Party was viewed more favorably than the Tea Party by respondents by a 47-39 percent margin, a full 30 percent still identify themselves as Tea Party supporters, which is a voting bloc the Republicans can’t ignore.
The Tea Party isn’t asking that all of their ideas be adopted by all the Republicans in Congress, but they do want and deserve a seat at the table.