“The tea party clearly is not as successful in 2012 as in 2010, but it still plays a huge role in GOP primaries,” said Republican pollster Glen Bolger.

The same Post-ABC poll that showed interest in the tea party flagging also showed that roughly four in 10 people described themselves as supporters of the movement, numbers virtually unchanged over the last year.

Sal Russo, a co-founder of the Tea Party Express, insisted that “the tea party is more vibrant now than in 2010.” The difference between now and two years ago, Russo argued, is that the movement is now centered less on pure protest and more on political action.

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