Respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll were closely divided on the Tea Party movement, with a strong correlation between viewpoint and political affiliation apparent in the results.
Overall, respondents support the movement by a margin of 51 percent to 49 percent. But when broken down by political party, the numbers show that a significant majority of Republicans-82 percent-support the movement; an even larger portion of Democrats-87 percent-does not.
Those who identify themselves as non-affiliated or affiliated with a party other than Democrat or Republican are split 50-50 on support of the Tea Party movement.
In a CBS News poll conducted last week, 29 percent of Americans said they support the Tea Party movement.
A grass-roots effort that grew out of last year’s protests against the federal stimulus legislation, the movement is loosely defined by the Contract from America, a statement of principles determined by an online voting process. The contract lists 10 agenda items such as requiring a balanced budget, adopting a simple and fair single-rate tax system and permanently repealing all tax hikes scheduled to begin in 2011. Roughly a dozen House and Senate hopefuls in New York have signed the Contract from America.
Political analysts say the Tea Party movement could play a significant role in the outcome of this fall’s elections. Among some high-profile races nationwide, Tea Partier Sharron Angle will challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada and Rand Paul is the GOP candidate for a Senate seat from Kentucky. In Alaska, Tea Party-backed Senate candidate Joe Miller upset incumbent Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary.
Nearly three-quarters of Republicans taking part in the Snap Poll said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate backed by the Tea Party, while 81 percent of Democrats said it would make them less likely.
More than 1,050 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted Aug. 30 and 31.
Are you a supporter of the Tea Party political movement?
Would you be more likely or less likely this November to vote for a candidate with Tea Party backing?
More likely Less likely Neither more nor less likely
45% 44% 11%
What is your political affiliation?
Democrat Republican Non-affiliated Other
27% 35% 33% 5%
Tea Party? Are you serious? Many of them collect Social Security and are covered by Medicare but want government out of their lives. Can’t have it both ways.
-Pete Bonenfant, Fairport
The Tea Party message is that we are heading in the wrong direction. I agree. Government needs to be what it was intended to be: small and limited in scope. It’s time to get back to the basics. This is true of all levels of government. The Founding Fathers of this country would be saddened, sickened and appalled at how government has crept into so many aspects of our lives. In the last few years, the creeping has now become a full-fledged run under Obama and his henchmen. … I will be voting for people who share the Tea Party vision, and against those who have gotten us into the mess we are in.
-George Thomas, Ogden
It is refreshing to witness a movement that takes into account the concerns of the taxpayers. It seems that other movements have centered on virtually every other group’s concerns and needs (some real, some exaggerated), always at the expense of the taxpayers, who have been largely ignored. Huge government spending has become a distasteful political reality and is a significant contributor to the sorry state of the economy and the jobs crisis. Big government needs to step back and shrink itself and its crushing influence.
While some Tea Party ideas reflect the general antipathy toward what government has become, it is run by the very interests many seek to remove from power, and it thrives on ignorance, fear, hatred and anger. It has few practical solutions and too many platitudes.
The Tea Party is a lot of fluff and no substance. Anyone who backs Sarah Palin is just following a lot of hot air-absolutely no intellect with her. The Tea Party offers no ideas to correct the problems, just more of the same with the regular parties-not working together to come up with solutions and employing tactics that just create turmoil. My party affiliation means I get to vote in a primary. I will vote for anyone who is capable of real change that benefits America and the world.
Tea Party members are uninformed at best but typically misinformed by right-wing lunatics (e.g.; "President Obama is not a U.S. citizen."). Any candidate supported by the Tea Party would automatically be disqualified in my mind.
For more comments, go to rbjdaily.com. To participate in the weekly RBJ Snap Poll, sign up for the Daily Report at rbjdaily.com/dailyform.htm.
9/3/10 (c) 2010 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail email@example.com.