SOUTH BEND — "Tax Day Tea" was served across the country Wednesday, as protesters stood up to speak out in anti-tax rallies from South Bend and St. Joseph to Boston and L.A. But, what kind of impact will the rallies really make come election day? In many cities, the events were dubbed as "tax day revolts." The goal: to gain momentum to help sway the midterm elections this fall. Armed with signs and slogans, about 75 activists in South Bend said their message was simple. "We're in trouble. We are really in trouble," said Don Nunemaker, holding a sign on Main Street as honking cars drove by. "It is poignant that we're here on tax day. I wrote a pretty healthy check to Uncle Sam this week. Our constitution is under attack from our fellow citizens, and this should not be," Nunemaker continued. Across the country at nearly 2,000 other similar rallies Wednesday, the message was the same: high taxes and big government spending are out of control, and it's time for a "change." "I'm fed up. I'm fed up with the way things are happening in our government. We need to take back America," said Bob Taylor, standing next to Nunemaker, with his own homemade sign in hand. On both sides, in big letters, appeared the word "change." National Tea Party organizers estimate supporters now make up about 18 percent of all voting Americans, and the numbers appear to be growing. But, not everyone is jumping on board. Just down the street, local union workers held a different rally, with a different slogan and different signs. "[My sign] says taxes for living, not killing," said Kevin Hoggard, standing across Main Street in front of the St. Joseph County Courthouse, directly opposite the Tea Party rally. Asked what his sign meant, Hoggard laughed. "It means these people are anti-tax. I'm not. I believe people should pay taxes. Taxes are necessary. They're not evil. They're necessary for a functioning society. Would they refuse fire trucks coming to put out their burning houses? Would they refuse police protection? Those are things that are funded with taxes," he said. Asked if he felt "over-taxed," Hoggard said "not one bit." But, Hoggard, and many others at the rally, sponsored by the AFL-CIO, UAW, and other unions, said taxes aren't being spent on the right things. "We should re-direct our funds from illegal wars and they could be better spent domestically for good programs," he said. But, is all the talk of "change" from both sides really making any difference? Is anyone even listening? "They're making a difference certainly when it comes to the polls," said Saint Mary's College Political Science Professor Dr. Sean Savage. "President Obama's approval ratings have been slumping below 50 percent, despite the passage of the health care reform act, which was supposed to be his sort of crowning achievement." Still, for now, the impact is only being made on potential voters. To truly make a difference, it will have to resonate when they head to the polls.. "In order for some sort of political movement to eventually be influential, in terms of influencing elections or public policy, they typically sort of need two things: knowledge and leisure time. They need to know how to reach voters and have the time to do it," Savage said. If both happen, Savage believes grassroots movements like the Tea Party could make a serious impact, particularly on the November elections. "Especially if we have sort of typical midterm elections in which the overall voter turnout for the voting age population general is relatively low. Because, the tea party activists and supporters have unusually high rates of voter turnout, especially in competitive swing districts. This could perhaps further increase the number of seats that Republicans are expected to achieve," Savage said. But, in order to influence voter behavior, one other key thing has to happen, Savage said. "You have to have the mood of voters and the public in general becoming receptive to it. If the Tea Party movement can spread a message that more and more Americans find attractive, then I think it's going to have a bigger influence on American politics and public policy," he said. Whether or not that will happen will depend largely on the economy, Savage added. "If the economy remains fairly stagnant with not much real noticeable real economic growth, and the housing market remains flat and credit doesn't improve, then I think these sort of movements and counter-movements--that sort of polarization with fewer people in the middle--that could increase," Savage said. South Bend Tea Party organizers plan to use that to their advantage, whether Washington is listening or not. "The people who are in power don't think they're doing anything wrong," said South Bend Republican City Committee Chairman J. Kata. "That's part of the problem. But, when this many people speak with one voice, it's hard to ignore that. The people of America are listening. And that's the important thing."