Two more stories to remind you of how, um, surprising, can be the opinions of the voters on high-visibility public issues.
One, Don Taylor showcases results in a survey of voter attitudes to various budget/tax packages. Way I read it, the Tea Party comes up with the smallest budget cuts and the smallest overall deficit reduction. Independents are tops in both with Dems a close second and Republicans generally, third. Democrats head the league tables for "raise taxes," but only slightly ahead of Independents. Taylor discusses it from the perspective of health policy which is only natural because that is his gig. I would say it is one more piece of evidence as to how difficult it is to get a decent conversation going on these issues.
Two, take a look at the current Economist and its survey of what California voters know about their budget. And before you get smug, be warned that this is one poll where the "best informed" voters do worst. The data on California's famous/notorious "Proposition 13" from 1978 are particularly telling. Older, better educated voters who might even be expected to remember Prop 13--they got pipped by younger less educated, and even by "registered elsewhere" or "non-citizens"--could it be the old settlers, and not the immigrants, who need to take a citizenship test?