Summarizing recent research, Will Wilkinson says no:

Digging into the data from the 2010 mid-term elections, Messrs Ansolabahere and Snyder find that the tea-party movement largely threw its weight behind conservative candidates in conservative districts who were likely to win anyway. "The penchant for endorsing candidates in Republican-leaning areas almost completely explains the Tea Party’s success rate," they write. This applies to candidates for the House, at least. What about a tea-party bump for Senate hopefuls? Noting that the relative paucity of senatorial contests makes it hard to draw firm statistical lessons, Messrs Ansolabahere and Snyder nevertheless observe that "Tea Party endorsees ran three percentage points behind non-endorsed Republicans running in similar states."So why did Democrats suffer a whupping in November? As someone once said, it's the economy, stupid.

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