Back when I was at FrumForum and the Tea Party movement was just getting started, we had a suspicion that many of the activists involved did not really have a firm grasp of the realities of America's fiscal situation. We did a survey of Tea Party rally attendees where we asked them questions about the economy and their own economic situation. On the whole they were pessimistic, and tended to overestimate how high taxes were.
Nearly two years later we now have a new poll commissioned by The Economist and YouGov which shows that not much has changed.
On page 43 of the document, the poll asked if the unemployment rate has increased or decreased since Obama became President. While the unemployment rate is high, it is also true that it has decreased to around 8%. A majority of Republicans (61%) said that unemployment has "increased a lot". (50% of Democrats said it "decreased a little".)
The next question on page 44 asked if participants thought the middle class tax burden increased or decreased under Obama. 41% of Republicans said it increased a lot, 31% said it increased a little. This is quite stunning because Republicans have actually been very effective at keeping the tax rate very low and resisting tax increases. Bruce Bartlett goes into further detail here.
So it seems that two years since the Tea Party movement started Republicans are still in a bubble when it comes to understanding America's fiscal reality.