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Voters Still Express More Confidence in Tea Party Than in Congress

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

More voters still think the average Tea Party member has a better handle on America’s problems than the average member of Congress does, but there’s a sharp difference of opinion between Democrats and Republicans.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 42% of all Likely U.S. Voters believe the average member of the Tea Party has a better understanding of the problems America faces today, while 34% think the average member of Congress is more clued in. Twenty-four percent (24%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Still, that marks a 10-point drop in confidence in the Tea Party from March of last year when 52% felt the average member of the grass roots smaller government group had a better understanding of America’s problems. But the new findings aren’t a big boost of confidence in Congress since there’s been only a slight increase from the 30% in March 2010 who thought the average congressman had a better feel for the nation’s problems.

Sixty percent (60%) of Democrats, however, have more confidence in the average member of Congress. But 68% of Republicans - and a plurality (46%) of voters not affiliated with either major party – think the average Tea Party member has a better understanding of today’s problems.

Just 36% of all voters now have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party which has come under fire from President Obama and congressional Democrats for pressuring Republicans into rejecting any tax increases as part of the recent deal to raise the federal debt ceiling. Forty-four percent (44%) view the Tea Party unfavorably, while 20% are not sure what they think of the group.

But again there’s a noticeable partisan divide. While 63% of GOP voters hold a favorable opinion of the Tea Party, 75% of Democrats regard the group unfavorably. Unaffiliated voters share that unfavorable opinion by a slim 42% to 38% margin.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 5-6, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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