Should Congressmen Fear the Tea Party?

Harry Reid apparently thinks he has a winning smear when he says that the Tea Party is driving Congressional Republicans. In his circle, association with the Tea Party is a bad thing. But is that true of Americans as a whole?
This Rasmussen survey, published yesterday, suggests that association with the Tea Party movement is generally considered a good thing. 48 percent of likely voters say their own views are closer to those of the average Tea Party member than to the average member of Congress. Only 20 percent say their views are closer to those of the average Congressman, while 30 percent are unsure.
Those data suggest that for most members of Congress, the best thing they could do is agree with Harry Reid that their views on the budget are those of the Tea Party movement. It is also noteworthy that Rasmussen’s findings have changed little since a year ago, which suggests that the Left’s outrageous smears against the movement–racism, etc.–have had little effect.