More Wins for Tea Party Activists, but Will They Win in November?

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This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

This week, in the United States, dissident Republicans succeeded again in defeating more established candidates within their party. Seven states and the nation's capital held primary elections on Tuesday to choose candidates for the November elections.

There were more victories for supporters of the Tea Party movement. This movement centers on cutting taxes and government spending. It brings together conservatives and libertarians -- strong believers in individual liberty.

The name comes from the Boston Tea Party, a colonial tax protest in seventeen seventy-three.

This week, attention centered on the victory of a supporter in the small eastern state of Delaware.

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: "Don't ever underestimate the power of We, the People!"

Christine O'Donnell won the Republican nomination for the Senate seat formerly held by Vice President Joe Biden. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin supported her. But many people never expected Ms. O'Donnell to defeat Representative Mike Castle. Now, many say she is too conservative to appeal to Democrats and independent voters.

Public opinion surveys show that voters are angry at Congress -- and unhappy even with their own member of Congress.

Candidates supported by Tea Party activists won primaries earlier this year in Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Nevada and Utah. But the biggest test yet will come when they face Democrats on November second.

Voters will decide all seats in the House of Representatives and thirty-seven of the one hundred seats in the Senate. Republicans are fighting to retake Congress from the Democratic Party of President Obama and make gains in state elections.

Peter Brown at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut finds that about one in eight voters support the Tea Party movement. He says the big question is whether the activists will be as successful in getting people to vote in November as in the Republican primaries.

Also this week, the Census Bureau reported that the nation's official poverty rate was fourteen and three-tenths percent last year. It rose by just over a full percentage point from two thousand eight.

Almost forty-four million people were in poverty, the third year of increase. The number included one in five children.

The poverty rate was the highest since nineteen ninety-four. But the number of people was the largest since estimates began in nineteen fifty-nine.

One-fourth of blacks and Hispanics were in poverty. So were twelve and a half percent of Asians and almost nine and a half percent of non-Hispanic whites.

A family of four that earned less than about twenty-two thousand dollars last year was considered to be living below the poverty line.

Also, the number of people with health insurance decreased last year -- the first drop since records began in nineteen eighty-seven. Almost seventeen percent of the population lacked coverage.

People can lose insurance when they lose their jobs or change to part-time work. The health care law passed by Congress in March aims to get almost every Americans insured in the coming years.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.

(Includes reporting by Avi Arditti, Jim Malone and Nico Colombant)

VOA Special English - Text & MP3

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