Debra Medina's surprising success in the Texas Republican primary for Governor seems to be driven more by anti-establishment sentiment than ideology.
Among GOP voters who think Congressional Republicans are too liberal Rick Perry still leads with 41% to 34% for Medina and just 17% for Kay Bailey Hutchison. Medina certainly does better with those voters than she does with the overall electorate but it's not enough to put her ahead of the incumbent.
Among GOP voters who just generally disapprove of Congressional Republicans though Medina goes into the lead with 37% to 32% for Perry and 22% for Hutchison. Those are the folks who are just plain unhappy with the establishment and she can win with them.
Does that mean the success of the Tea Party movement generally relies more on anti-establishment feelings than ideology? Hard to say. When we polled Kentucky in December Rand Paul was up 44-24 overall. With primary voters who felt Congressional Republicans were too liberal he lead 54-18. With ones who generally just didn't like Congressional Republicans he led by a pretty similar 55-21 margin.
I'll be interested to see the data on those fronts when we finally poll Florida, and also as more of these viable Tea Party candidacies emerge.