Tea party candidates could undermine Republicans in congressional races so severely that Democrats could win many of those contests, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national survey.
In a three-way congressional contest with a tea party candidate on the ballot, the Democrat could pick up 40 percent of the vote. The Republican would get 21 percent support, while 18 percent would opt for the tea party candidate. Just over 20 percent remain undecided.
Not surprisingly, Republicans and unaffiliated voters are more likely to be undecided than Democrats, according to the June 9 telephone survey of 1,000 likely voters
This is a slightly improved picture for Democrats from early February of last year. In a three-way matchup at that time, the Democrat earned 36 percent to the Republican’s 25 percent, while the tea party candidate won 17 percent of the vote.
In a two-way race, Republicans continue to hold a modest advantage over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot
In the new survey, the tea party candidate draws 28 percent support from GOP voters, while 85 percent of Democrats back their party’s candidate. Just 45 percent of Republicans support the Republican candidate in the three-way matchup. Among voters not affiliated with either of the major parties, 15 percent like the Republican, 29 percent the Democrat and 25 percent the tea party candidate.
Sixteen percent of all voters now consider themselves members of the tea party movement, down from 21 percent at the end of last year. Nearly 70 percent say they are not members, while another 15 percent are not sure.
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