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Tea party outpolls Democratic, Republican parties -- will anger fuel 2010 elections?

December 17, 2009 |  8:43 am

The new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is getting a lot of traction. President Obama's approval ratings are down, casualty of the political flak he is taking by sticking his neck out on the issues. Public pessimism is up. Faith in Congress is down.

But one of the most startling findings is that the tea party activists -- those angry opponents of healthcare reform and government spending who flooded last summer's town hall meetings -- are now more popular than Democrats or Republicans.

“This is stunning to me just because it shows how angry Americans are,” said MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough. “The parties are dying.”

According to the poll, 41% of likely voters now have a favorable opinion of the tea party disciples, compared with 35% for Democrats and 28% for Republicans. In short, if the tea party really were a party -- and former House Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey is certainly raising money like one -- it would be at the top of the food chain.

Which kind of makes you wonder: Why aren't the Republicans benefiting from all those grass-roots anger at the Democrats?

-- Johanna Neuman  

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