More than four in 10 self-described members of the Tea Party also identify as either Independents or Democrats, according to a recently released, comprehensive survey.
Yet the Tea Party's priority appears to be fiscal conservatism, and the group by large margins trusts Republicans in Congress over Democrats to solve the country's problems.
In a collection of three national surveys conducted by the Republican-leaning Winston Group, 57 percent of Tea Party members called themselves Republicans while 28 percent said they were Independents, and 13 percent said they were Democrats. Two-thirds of the group identified as conservative, but 26 percent said they are moderate and 8 percent called themselves liberal.
Seventeen percent of people surveyed said they were "part of the Tea Party movement."
While a sizable portion of tea partiers identify as Independent or Democrat, they overwhelmingly disapprove of President Obama. In the February survey conducted by Winston, 81 percent of Tea Party members said they disapprove of the job Mr. Obama is doing as president, compared with 44 percent of people overall who said they disapproved.
Additionally, the Tea Party largely trusts the Republican party over the Democratic party to handle issues like health care, the economy and job creation. On each of those three issues, nearly three out of four tea partiers in the February poll said they have more confidence in the GOP to handle them. Seventy-four percent of tea partiers said they'd most likely choose a Republican to represent their congressional district, while 19 percent said they'd most likely choose a Democrat.
Like all Americans, most Tea Party members said the economy is the most important political issue, but 21 percent -- twice as many as Americans overall -- named the national deficit and national spending as their top issue. Eighty-five percent of Tea Party members polled in January said tax cuts for small businesses would create more jobs than government spending on infrastructure, while 61 percent of Americans overall preferred tax cuts.Will the Tea Party Effect This Year's Elections?
Opinions Split on Tea Party Movement