A couple new polls out this week confirm what we already had a pretty good idea of- a lot of Americans are identifying with the Tea Party movement right now. Whether that's going to translate into any electoral influence though is still predicated on the thing most political influence is predicated on- cold hard cash.
We've already had two primaries this year, in Texas and Illinois, and in both of those Tea Party activists got excited about one of the candidates for Governor. In Texas it was Debra Medina and in Illinois it was Adam Andrzejewski. Although those folks generated a lot of grassroots excitement both had a lot less money than their opponents and as a result received less than 20% and lost the primary. The purity of their message is not going to win Tea Party associated candidates any elections without the money to back it up.
If the Tea Party folks are really going to get candidates elected they're either going to have to find a way to raise a lot more money or they're going to have to embrace candidates, like Rand Paul in Kentucky, who have the built in ability to raise the money needed to get elected to office. Without that their noise may exceed their influence.