Despite the best efforts of the mainstream media to present the Tea Party movement and those affiliated with it as right-wing extremists, some interesting polls have come out that demonstrate what those in the Tea Party already knew: Tea Partiers are by in large normal, mainstream folk, and there is nothing extreme about them.
First up is a Gallup Poll that finds that Tea Partiers are mainstream in their social demographics, although slightly more conservative politically.
PRINCETON, NJ — Tea Party supporters skew right politically; but demographically, they are generally representative of the public at large. That’s the finding of a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted March 26-28, in which 28% of U.S. adults call themselves supporters of the Tea Party movement.
Next up is a poll by the Winston Group and cited by the Hill, which shows that 4 out of 10 Tea Partiers are either Independents or Democrats, belying the myth that the movement is solely a Republican phenomenon.
The national breakdown of the Tea Party composition is 57 percent Republican, 28 percent Independent and 13 percent Democratic, according to three national polls by the Winston Group, a Republican-leaning firm that conducted the surveys on behalf of an education advocacy group. Two-thirds of the group call themselves conservative, 26 are moderate and 8 percent say they are liberal.
The group is united around two issues – the economy/jobs and reducing the deficit. They believe that cutting spending is the key to job creation and favor tax cuts as the best way to stimulate the economy. That said 61 percent of Tea Party members believe infrastructure spending creates jobs. Moreover, given the choice Tea Party members favor 63-32 reducing unemployment to 5 percent over balancing the budget.
It isn’t a “purely homogeneous” group, said Winston.
And thirdly, we have a Rasmussen poll that shows that 48% of Americans find that their political views match those espoused by the Tea Party than President Obama, who’s political views were more closely aligned to 44% of Americans.
On major issues, 48% of voters say that the average Tea Party member is closer to their views than President Barack Obama. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 44% hold the opposite view and believe the president’s views are closer to their own.
“Unaffiliated voters are continuing the pattern they established in 2006 and 2008 of opposing the party in power,” notes Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports. In his new book, Scott makes the case that “the American people don’t want to be governed from the left, the right, or the center. They want to govern themselves.” In Search of Self-Governance has received positive reviews from across the political spectrum and is available at Rasmussen Reports and Amazon.com.
So naturally, we have some commentary on this. And also naturally,most of it deals with the fact that the left-wing media have done all they can to present the Tea Partiers as racists and extremists, despite all evidence to the contrary.
I wish I’d saved up some of these screeds, you know, the “tea partiers are God-bagging racist homophobic wifebeaters,” but there’s not enough time in the day.
Oh sure, there’s distrust in the president that bears marks of irrationality, and folks like John Avlon are all too happy to point it out to you (see, “Scary New GOP Poll“); and from Janet Napolitano on down, any plain Middle American tea party protester is equivalent to Timothy McVeigh and genuine right wing extremists (Frank Schaeffer’s got the latest on that, “The Evangelical “Mainstream” Insanity Behind the Michigan ‘End Times’ Militia“). And what the heck! We can add Digby to the mix here, with her latest Frank Rich-style histrionics against protesters scheduled to converge on D.C. on April 19th (that’s the anniversary of Waco and Oklahoma City, and that’s all you need to know).
But take away all the disinformation and demonization, and the hard, cold fact remains: Tea partiers are just regular folks worried that the nation’s abandoned its Constitutional founding, and that liberty’s at risk of slipping away.
For the past few months, media outlets have described Tea Party followers as racist, reactionary, Birthers, and just about every insult one could find in the dictionary. CNN’s Anderson Cooper helped popularize a sexual slur as a description for the group that others in the media continue to use: teabaggers.
Last week, we discovered that CNN and MS-NBC continued to bleed viewers while Fox News continues to grow. That may be a result of politically active Americans getting tired of being insulted by news networks that have sneeringly misrepresented a movement to which they belong or at least sympathize. (via Andrew Malcolm)
Had the media simply attended the Tea Parties and reported responsibly, rather than trying to put out their own narrative, the data from these polls would have been known long ago.
Unfortunately, as we learned from the 2008 election, the media is far more interested in shilling for the Democrats than bringing the truth to the masses.
Once the Tea Party can catch its breath after the 2010 elections, it really needs to turn its ire on the dinosaur media. The media has a lot to answer for with its irresponsible reporting.
The left would have you believe the tea parties are made up of a bunch of radical right wing extremists. In reality it’s made up of sensible Americans with enough common sense to understand that we’re headed in the wrong direction.
Love the “decidedly Republican” description even though nearly the same number of those polled described themselves as “Independent” as they did “Republican” but whatever. I suspect the numbers are somewhere in the middle of what Gallup reported and the Winston Group reported. The Tea Party movement is a diverse group of people who don’t all fit in one neat little box and, contra to the President’s absurd and baseless claim, the “core” of the movement has nothing to do with “birtherism” but instead concern about this nation’s fiscal future and the increasing role government has in the lives of the American people. How could the “core” of the movement have anything to do with birtherism since the movement actually started in mid 2008 in response to government bailouts?
Surprisingly, Gallup did not ask any questions about the Tea Party opinions on the Economy which is the reason for the birth of the movement. But their look at the demographics of the Tea Party movement, while not surprising, is refreshing. I am sure that if both the Gallup and Winston Polls are read by anyone at MSNBC their heads will explode.
And Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters asks they key question: How will the media report it?
It’s really kind of a moot point by now, I think. The media will probably ignore or bury the polls, and continue with their narrative. Those on the left will find some way to explain the polls away as improperly conducted or as a product of some evil conservative conspiracy. And the Tea Part will keep truckin’ along, more people will investigate and see what it’s really about, and the left and the mainstream media will continue to lose credibility, becoming more shrill and panicked as they go.
I expect for the coverage of the Tea Party by the mainstream media to get more and more extreme and biased, and the left to get more wound up over the Tea Party and thrown more outlandish accusations. And eventually they’ll jump the shark so thoroughly that no one will pay attention to them anymore.