It's perhaps only fitting that a movement that has no clear leader can't agree who would make the best president.
Politico's James Hohmann reports, "Tea party activists are divided roughly into two camps, according to a new POLITICO/TargetPoint poll: one thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s libertarian-minded and largely indifferent to hot-button values issues and another thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s culturally conservative and equally concerned about social and fiscal issues."
The survey, an exit poll conducted Thursday by Edison Research at the massive Tax Day protest on the National Mall, found that the attendees were largely hostile to President Barack Obama and the national Democratic Party Ã¢â‚¬â€ three-quarters believe the president Ã¢â‚¬Å“is pursuing a socialist agenda.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Yet they arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t enamored of the Republican Party as an alternative. Overall, three out of four tea party attendees said they were Ã¢â‚¬Å“scared about the directionÃ¢â‚¬Â of the country and Ã¢â‚¬Å“want to send a message to both political parties.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The results, however, suggest a distinct fault line that runs through the tea party activist base, characterized by two wings led by the politicians who ranked highest when respondents were asked who Ã¢â‚¬Å“best exemplifies the goals of the tea party movementÃ¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬â€ former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a former GOP presidential candidate.
Hohmann adds, "Among the respondents, the two prominent figureheads polarize. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed said they would not even consider voting for Palin if she ran for president in 2012; 59 percent said the same thing of Paul."
Palin recently was quoted as saying, "Sounds pretty good," when asked by the Boston Herald if she would consider "joining forces with Mitt Romney for a 2012 White House run."
But, clearly, despite sporadic bursts of support, the Tea Party movement, as a whole, doesn't share her enthusiasm.
The complete Politico, Target Point poll can be read at this link.