Just days after the first Tea Party nation’s convention wound down in Nashville several opinion polls appeared to send conflicting messages about the movement’s likely impact in this crucial election year.
According to a CNN/Opinion Research Poll, only about a third of Americans view the movement favorably, while a plurality (40 percent) have not heard of it or don’t have enough information to form an opinion.
In addition, about 26 percent of the public is critical of the grassroots movement.
"The Tea Party movement is a blank slate to many Americans, which is not surprising for a political movement that is only about a year old," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
However, there are signals that the movement may already be influencing electoral outcomes in some key states.
For example, a new poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports shows Texas Governor Rick Perry leading Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison 44 percent to 29 percent in the race for reelection.
Perry was endorsed by former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who has been branded by some as the unofficial leader of the Tea Party movement.
Palin delivered the keynote address at the Nashville convention Feb. 6, and a day later she made a public appearance with Perry on the campaign trail in suburban Houston, according to The Daily Texan.