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So That's Why Governor Rick Perry Jumped On the Tea Party Bandwagon

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For polling purposes, Rasmussen Reports pretended the Tea Party movement organized as a political party and then tossed it into a ménage with the GOP and Dems. On a generic congressional ballot test using the three parties, 23 percent of respondents to a national telephone poll voted for the Tea Party candidate, second to the 36 percent grabbed by the Democrat. The Republican finished last at 18 percent, and 22 percent were undecided.

The Tea Party emerged as the top candidate at 33 percent among voters not affiliated with either major party, with 25 percent committing to the Democrat, 12 voting for the GOP and 30 percent undecided. Rasmussen also cites Tea Party candidates as the first choice among political conservatives and more popular than Republicans among moderates.

This is encouraging news for Governor Rick Perry, who made national headlines during the Tax Day Tea Party in Austin earlier this year with his secessionist rhetoric. While the polling data is national, it shows that Perry has clearly tapped into a movement with serious legs, and the numbers could be troublesome for U.S Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

In fact, if these numbers hold true in Texas, it could spell doom for Hutchison's campaign. She's banking on moderates, independents and conservatives to help her topple Perry in the GOP gubernatorial primary, but if all these groups are showing a tendency to vote for a Tea Party candidate, that would give a significant edge to Perry, who's quick to remind Tea Party activists frustrated with Washington that Hutchison's part of the problem.

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