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Poll: Tea Party Supporters View Palin, Beck and Bush Favorably

CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

Sarah Palin waves to a crowd as she passes a road map of the Tea Party Express, prior to her address on Boston Common in Boston, Wednesday, April 14, 2010. AP

It remains unclear whether the Tea Party movement has a leader - or if it wants one, according to a new CBS News/ New York Times poll. But when asked specifically about a few notable figures, Tea Partiers named Fox News personality Glenn Beck and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as favorites.

Two thirds of Tea Partiers said they had a favorable opinion of Palin, according to the poll, conducted April 5 - 12, while 59 percent have a favorable opinion of Beck.

Fifty-seven percent of Tea Partiers also think well of former Republican President George W. Bush, but only 35 percent think well of Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential candidate.

The poll showed that GOP Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is not as well-known, even though Paul could be credited for starting the Tea Party trend. Only 28 percent of Tea Partiers said they have a favorable view of him, while 56 percent said they hadn't heard enough about him.

Although they like her, nearly half of Tea Partiers do not think Sarah Palin would have the ability to be an effective president. Republicans overall are more positive in their assessment, with 48 percent saying she would be effective and 42 percent saying she wouldn't. Among Americans as a whole, two in three doubt she has that ability.

Asked to volunteer their most admired political figure generally, no single person stands out among Tea Party supporters. As many as 29 percent offered no one or said they aren't sure. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich leads the list of those mentioned, with 10 percent, followed by Sarah Palin with 9 percent, and former President George W. Bush and Mitt Romney at 5 percent.

More from the Poll:

Tea Party Supporters: Who They Are and What They Believe
Tea Party Activists Small but Passionate Group
"Birther" Myth Persists Among Tea Partiers, All Americans
Most Tea Partiers Believe Too Much Made of Problems Facing Blacks
Most Tea Party Supporters Say Their Taxes Are Fair

Read the Complete Poll on Tea Party Members (PDF)
Read the Complete Poll on What Tea Partiers Believe (PDF)

This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,580 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone April 5-12, 2010. Phone numbers were dialed from RDD samples of both standard land-lines and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.

An oversample of people who describe themselves as supporters of the Tea Party movement were interviewed, for a total of 881 interviews. The results were then weighted in proportion to the adult population. The margin of error for the sample of Tea Party supporters is three points. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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