Open Thread: Tea Party Democrats

While the Tea Party movement has largely been viewed as a resurgence in conservative values away from big government Republican politicians, its fiscal policies are attracting a new crowd: fiscally conservative Democrats.

With remarks from both Rep. Michele Bachmann and Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele that the Tea Party embraces a number of disaffected Democrats, but arguments from Democrats that the Tea Party will never vote for anyone besides a Republican, it remains unclear what effect the more liberal faction of the Tea Party will have on the 2012 elections.

Check out analysis of the Tea Party minority group after the break, and let us know what you think in the comments.

The Washington Post gathered a number of polls to pin down the size of the Democratic minority of the Tea Party:

The Winston Group, a GOP polling firm, last year showed that 13 percent of tea partyers [sic] were Democrats; Gallup put the number at 15 percent.

On the lower end, the number was 9 percent in a TargetPoint poll and just 4 percent in a CNN-Opinion Research poll.

More recently, a poll for Resurgent Republic, a Republican-aligned conglomerate of pollsters and consultants, showed that 11 percent of those who viewed the tea party favorably were Democrats. (That’s not an ideal measure, of course, since one need not be a tea party member to view it favorably.)

With an average hovering at around 10% of the Tea Party being composed of Democrats, the group is a small but significant minority.

Last fall, when the Tea Party elected officials like Sen. Rand Paul from Kentucky and Sen. Marco Rubio from Florida, there was a big shift from independent voters, who voted for Republicans by a 19-point margin, but Democrats voting for Republicans remained about the same as always, at approximately 7%.

Do you think the small group of Tea Party Democrats could play any role in the 2012 elections? Or do you think Republicans are being too hopeful for the potential impact of the group?

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