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Tea Party Supported by One in Five in New CBS News/NYT Poll

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

Despite the movement's rallies and some victories in primary races this year, many Americans remain unfamiliar with the Tea Party, a new CBS News/ New York Times poll shows.

As many as 47 percent of registered voters nationwide say they are undecided or haven't heard enough about the Tea Party movement to have an opinion about it, according to the poll, conducted Sept. 10-14.

Late last month, Tea Party supporters pulled off a surprising upset in Alaska, where their preferred candidate, Joe Miller, defeated Incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary.

Even more surprising, however, were the Tea Party's victories in yesterday's primaries. Tea Party-backed Christine O'Donnell bested Rep. Mike Castle for the Republican Senate nomination in Delaware, Carl Paladino won the GOP gubernatorial nomination in New York, and an upstart conservative in New Hampshire is running neck-and-neck with the establishment candidate for the state's GOP Senate nomination.

Nationally, however, the CBS/ New York Times poll shows that among those with an opinion, more view the Tea Party unfavorably (29 percent) than favorably (23 percent).

Just 19 percent of Americans in this poll say they support the Tea Party movement, while 63 percent say they do not. However, this small group of supporters is politically active.

As many as 84 percent of them say they are registered to vote, and 88 percent say they will definitely vote this November. Most (73 percent) are conservative.

Fifty-four percent of Tea Party supporters identify themselves as Republicans, and 38 percent say they are independents. Less than one in 10 says they are Democrats.

More on yesterday's primaries:

What is the Tea Party Movement?
Christine O'Donnell Win Changes Senate Outlook, Makes GOP Senate Takeover Less Likely
Karl Rove: Christine O'Donnell Says "Nutty Things;" O'Donnell Fires Back
Washington Unplugged: Tea Party Coup
Mike Castle Won't Endorse Christine O'Donnell
Christine O'Donnell Wins, and the GOP Loses
O'Donnell: "The People of Del. Have Spoken"
Carl Paladino's Controversial Statements Could Embarrass Republicans Special Report: Campaign 2010

This poll was conducted among a random sample of 990 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone September 10-14, 2010. Phone numbers were dialed from random digit dial samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. 777 interviews were conducted among registered voters. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points, and plus or minus four points for voters. The error for subgroups is higher.

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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