In a three-way Generic Ballot test, the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds Democrats attracting 36% of the vote. The Tea Party candidate picks up 23%, and Republicans finish third at 18%. Another 22% are undecided.
Among voters not affiliated with either major party, the Tea Party comes out on top. Thirty-three percent (33%) prefer the Tea Party candidate, and 30% are undecided. Twenty-five percent (25%) would vote for a Democrat, and just 12% prefer the GOP.
Start the obligatory left-wing yows. Start the obligatory Republican establishment yows.
I think this poll shows a couple of things. First, a Tea Party (which is not actually a party) effort would hand Democrats a plurality victory, much as Ross Perot handed the election to Bill Clinton.
Second, the Republican establishment needs to understand that it has lost its base.
Third, Democrats need to understand that their policies are sufficiently unpopular that a non-organized anti-tax movement polls only 13% percent behind Democrats overall, and actually wins with independents. Think about that as Democrats prepare to push through health care and climate change taxes.
Lots of lessons all around. The one big lesson: Throw out the health care bills and start all over with a less intrusive, lower tax, more market-oriented approach.