Reporting from Los Angeles —
A majority of Americans believe the Republican Party has become more conservative, but few say the shift is due to the “tea party” movement, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll released Thursday.
The poll also found that three of every 10 Americans identified themselves as supporters of the movement, and 27% said they were opponents — results that were consistent with what Gallup found in four other polls this year.
Taken before the latest tea-party movement victories in Republican primaries in Delaware and New York, but after successes in other states during the nominating season of this midterm election cycle, the latest poll tracks how Americans see the protest movement, which has energized Republicans while frightening established GOP leaders. The movement has also provided an easy target for Democrats, fighting to continue their control of Congress, who argue that the new crop of movement candidates are outside the political mainstream.