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Memo to GOP: “Lead, follow — or get out of the way”

Posted by Richard on December 8, 2009

On Monday, Rasmussen Reports released the results of a poll of 1000 likely voters in which they asked them to "suppose the Tea Party Movement organized itself as a political party. When thinking about the next election for Congress, would you vote for the Republican candidate from your district, the Democratic candidate from your district, or the Tea Party candidate from your district?" The results:

18% Republican
36% Democratic
23% Tea Party
22% Not sure 

To those ready to file party organizing papers, Rasmussen offered this caution: 

In practical terms, it is unlikely that a true third-party option would perform as well as the polling data indicates. The rules of the election process—written by Republicans and Democrats–provide substantial advantages for the two established major parties. The more conventional route in the United States is for a potential third-party force to overtake one of the existing parties.

But the polling data ought to make the GOP leadership (and I use the term loosely) stop and think.

Seventy percent (70%) of Republican voters have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party movement while only seven percent (7%) offer an unfavorable view. Interestingly, 49% of Democrats have no opinion one way or the other.

Among unaffiliated voters, 43% have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party efforts while 20% say the opposite.

Forty-one percent (41%) of all voters nationwide say Republicans and Democrats are so much alike that a new party is needed to represent the American people. Republicans are evenly divided on this question, while Democrats overwhelmingly disagree. However, among those not affiliated with either major party, 60% agree that a new party is needed, and only 25% disagree. Men are far more likely than women to believe a new party is needed.

As for the voting preference, the Tea Party bests the GOP among both men and women and in all age groups except those over 65.

And it ought to make the socialists running the Democratic Party stop and think, too. Notice that the Republican plus Tea Party total is 51%, and the Dems got barely over a third. Notice also that 60% of independents think the donkeys and elephants are too much alike — that ain't 'cause the Dems have moved toward fiscal conservatism, free-markets, and limited government, folks!

Americans for Limited Government president Bill Wilson issued a statement that put it rather well:

"The stunning Rasmussen Poll showing the Republican Party finishing a decided third to a hypothetical 'Tea Party' candidate should send shock waves through the GOP. It demonstrates once again that the timid, tepid Republican leadership is leading its party to the brink of disaster. Tens of millions of Americans are looking for strong leadership to stand up to the Obama-Reid-Pelosi leftwing onslaught. Instead, the Republican Party is giving them the same shilly-shally two-step that cost it a majority in Congress, and the Oval Office. Looks like the American people are telling the GOP in no uncertain terms, 'Lead, follow — or get out of the way.'"

What he said.

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