Poll: Tea party has many “closet admirers”

Forty-four percent of Americans now see the upstart “tea party” movement in a favorable light, according to a new Christian Science Monitor/TIPP poll.

What’s more, about 40 percent of tea party sympathizers say they would not attend a tea party event, meaning they are essentially “closet admirers” of the small-government movement, says TIPP pollster Raghavan Mayur.

“The general party line says the tea party is fringe, but I think most of the public hasn’t bought that point of view … and sees the tea party movement in a positive to neutral light,” says Mr. Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence in Ramsey, N.J., who last weekend oversaw the poll of 908 American adults. “The overarching message here is that Democrats have been in denial about the tea party [phenomenon] … and I think it’s coming back to haunt them.”