Tea Party Going Mainstream? Polls Suggest Movement Gaining in Popularity

Tea Partiers have been dismissed as a fringe, but two new polls suggest the conservative movement might be going mainstream.

A Rasmussen poll released Monday found more Americans identify with the Tea Party groups than with President Obama.

According to the survey, 48 percent of voters said the average Tea Party activist is more aligned with their views on major issues than the president. Forty-four percent said Obama's views are closer to theirs.

That came on top of a USA Today/Gallup poll that found more than a quarter of Americans affiliate themselves with the Tea Party movement.

The poll of 1,033 adults, conducted March 26-28, found 28 percent of people call themselves Tea Party supporters, while 26 percent call themselves opponents.

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The survey also found that Tea Party supporters are not disproportionately dominated by any one demographic group. The characteristics of Tea Party supporters -- in age, education, income and race -- roughly follow the characteristics of the nation as a whole.

The Gallup poll had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

The Rasmussen poll of 1,000 likely voters was taken April 2-3. It had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.