Poll Finds Tea Party Anger Rooted in Issues of Class

The New York Times and CBS recently commissioned a poll in hopes of better understanding the Tea Party movement, and the findings are pretty interesting. Here’s a clip:

Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.

They hold more conservative views on a range of issues than Republicans generally. They are also more likely to describe themselves as “very conservative” and President Obama as “very liberal.”

And while most Republicans say they are “dissatisfied” with Washington, Tea Party supporters are more likely to classify themselves as “angry”…

Tea Party supporters’ fierce animosity toward Washington, and the president in particular, is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich…

They do not want a third party and say they usually or almost always vote Republican. The percentage holding a favorable opinion of former President George W. Bush, at 57 percent, almost exactly matches the percentage in the general public that holds an unfavorable view of him…

I’d like to be respectful toward these folks. Generally, I like middle aged white men. Demographically speaking, they’re my people. But, I find it hard to take them seriously when they’re 1) just now becoming outraged over our government’s exercise of power, and 2) insisting that Obama is “very liberal,” when he hasn’t in reality done a damned thing to demonstrate that. (See the bailing out of banks, and the scuttling of real health care reform.) I might otherwise be sympathetic to some of their arguments, but I can’t take them seriously when they insist that we’re living under a more tyrannical regime than we did for eight of the last nine years.

In the defense of the Tea Party, I will say this… At least they’re starting to figure out where to draw the line. (They just decided to bump “birther” Orly Taitz from a rally in California.)

Now, if they’d just turn their back on Jon Voight.

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  1. Ben
    Posted April 14, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    I know this is probably not the right venue for this, but I was wondering how I could get in contact with the folks who run the Dreamland Theatre? I know of an awesome spoken word poet http://iamlistener.com/ who needs a place to play on May 8th. I told him that I might be able to organize a show in Ypsilanti. I would be willing to organize the whole thing and give 100% of the door proceeds to the Theatre.
    If you can help, or know someone who can help, please let me know. I wouldn’t be bothering you, but there is no contact info listed anywhere on Dreamland’s site.
    My e-mail is lorbie@gmail.com
    -Ben Hardy

  2. Dan
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Thought this was an interesting article:

  3. Steph's Dad
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Orally Taint would be a good name for her character, if they ever make the porn version of the birther movement.

  4. Kim
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I don’t know how someone can write an entire article about the motivations of tea partiers and not mention fear.

  5. EOS
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    From Reuters this morning:

    “Railway porter-turned-billionaire financier George Soros delivered a stark warning last night that the financial world is on the wrong track and that we may be hurtling towards an even bigger boom and bust than in the credit crisis.”

    I don’t think Mr. Soros is a member of the tea party. That we are fearful for our collective financial futures does not mean that the fear isn’t a rational response to current economic policies.

  6. mSS
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not after you.

  7. dragon
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m just happy to see our established media finally giving voice to the voiceless, the persecuted older wealthy white males. Election after election we have had to watch the vile impoverished minorities wield undue influence on the outcomes, in no small part by the sympathetic media in this country. Maybe the welfare class, who have been riding their privilege for decades, will learn to live without their handouts for a change, just like these embattled wealthy white folks.

  8. Meta
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    There’s more data from poll here:


    Here’s an interesting fact. 47% of Tea Partiers get their information primarily from television.

  9. Bob
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    The thing progressives need to do is to infiltrate this Tea Party movement. As contrived as the whole thing was to start, by corporations and corporate media, there is no way to deny that millions of real Americans are swept up in it. Half of them are crazy, right-wing, Jesus-freak wackos. The other half of them are just frightened working class people who probably voted for Clinton or even for Obama. I suspect they have more in common with progressives than they realize. Much of their anti government anger is legitimate, just misdirected. They just need better information.

  10. kjc
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    “there is no way to deny that millions of real Americans are swept up in it”

    is this true? i don’t know whether it is or isn’t. nor do i know whether half the people who claim Tea Party status are crazy right wingers while the other half are harmlessly angry at the govt (“angry at the govt” being a point of solidarity for some people, though it means nothing to me). i don’t know whether overlap of these two supposed halves exists or whether there’s also overlap with people calling themselves “fiscal conservatives”. i know someone is having rallies and inviting Sarah Palin. i know the media loves this story and is making more of it than is likely there. i know the whole thing utterly bores me.

  11. Stella 2
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Granted, it may be a small sample size, but, according to this study, 18% of those adults asked self-identified as tea party people. So, “millions” may not be an overstatement at all.

    This is absolutely worth discussion. There are angry and armed people among us whole are being continually lied to by the likes of Limbaugh and Beck.

    I agree with Mark that these people have no credibility with me. If they cared about the Constitution, they would have been in the streets when Bush did away with habeus corpus. If they cared about deficits, they would have had their signs out when Bush lied us into an illegal war. The truth is, it’s about race. It’s about a young black man being our President. This isn’t about taxes. Most middle class families are paying less under Obama. This is about stupid white men coming to the realization that they no longer call all the shots.

  12. Oliva
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    This is about stupid white men coming to the realization that they no longer call all the shots.

    Forthright and plain right–thank you, Stella 2.

  13. mSS
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Stella 2,

    To reiterate how little they care about the constitution or deficits, have you heard a peep out of any of them about Obama’s assassination programs or his military expansion into Yemen and Pakistan, and the massive increase in Predator drone bombings on civilians? It’s too bad there aren’t any Obama critics that were consistently against Bush, too.

    In other news, has anybody seen the Rasmussen poll that shows Obama beating Ron Paul by only 1 point?

  14. Peter Larson
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    What happened to the fleabagger rally that was supposed to happen on the diag today? I went, but only saw about 2 old white people.

  15. Bob
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I think millions is a conservative estimate regarding people who are sympathetic to the TP movement. I think most of the people who share their views would never be caught actually attending one of these rallies, but are cheering from the side. Writing all of them off as wackos is a huge mistake. My original point was progressives need to direct and educate a portion of these people. I’m not sure exactly how you go about doing that mind you.

  16. Posted April 15, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I have a Facebook friend who went to the thing on the Diag today, Pete. I think it was early this evening. Anyway, here’s what she had to say:

    Just home from the Tea Bagging Rally on the Diag. About 300 people (compared to about 3,000 at the Hash Bash the other week), of whom maybe 10% were counter protesters. My favorite poster read “My taxes went DOWN this year!”, closely followed by “I Love Puppies!” I would concur with both those statements.

  17. Posted April 15, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    A good first step would be getting FOX News off the air, Bob.

  18. Donald Washburn
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    “White people find it extremely hard to live in an environment they don’t control.”

    -Coleman A. Young

  19. EOS
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Went to the Diag rally yesterday. It was a beautiful day and an encouraging turnout. People of all ages and races showed up, a few kids in strollers, some elderly with canes or in wheelchairs. A Black spokeswoman from the University welcomed everyone. Another Black woman was the emcee for the event. It was opened in prayer by a local Black Pastor. Speakers were, for the most part, opposed to big government of either party. Libertarians were well represented. Thayrone was well received.

    The protesters were small in number and weren’t able to disrupt the speakers. A few had signs that were incoherent – Waffles are delicious? Isolated counter-protesters yelled racist slogans that were met with silent stares and they soon gave up.

    There were events all over the State including Lansing, Plymouth, and Northville. Peaceful assemblies of concerned citizens expressing their First Amendment rights. I haven’t heard of any arrests or problems at any event. I don’t blame Progressives for being concerned – they’ve woken the Sleeping Giant.

  20. Posted April 16, 2010 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    mSS: Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com suggests that the Rasmussen poll is probably an outlier. http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/04/romney-not-paul-fares-best-in-12.html

  21. EOS
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Mark, the rally was from 7P – 9P. You ought to warn your friend about posting numbers. Let’s wait and see what number Nate decrees before we incur the wrath of Robert.

  22. Edward
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    …Oh MY GODDDD! The sleeping white giant has been AWOKEN!!!!

  23. Posted April 16, 2010 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Photo of the UM teabagger rally: http://i463.photobucket.com/albums/qq354/Eclectablog/AA%20Tea%20Party/CrowdShot.jpg

    I’d go with “about 300” as a fair estimate.

  24. EOS
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Well, that picture shows about 20 people in the front row, and definitely more than 20 rows deep. The picture doesn’t show significant numbers of people who gathered on both sides of the steps, those on the steps behind the speaker and all the people on the grass areas too. Be careful cmadler, and wait till Robert gets Nate’s estimates from the aerial photos. This photo may have been planted by right wing radicals and could also have been photo-shopped. Are you sure its not from the hash bash?

  25. Independent Jones
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    dude? did I miss the hash bash this year? Man, I gotta stop gettin’ so high…

  26. mSS
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Permalink


    I’ve seen that, too much reading made my head hurt. Why this is significant, though, is because Ron Paul was the candidate dismissed after doing well in any online poll as just having two fans who spammed every poll. The right doesn’t like him because he opposes all of the war and corporatism they stand for, and the left doesn’t like him because he and his movement is their only coherent critic. Both sides try to marginalize him, but now a random, scientific, non-internet poll shows substantial support. How long will Mark just keep taking easy shots at idiot tea-partiers?

  27. Posted April 16, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    “A few had signs that were incoherent – Waffles are delicious?”

    What? That’s possibly the most coherent sentence I’ve seen all day.

  28. Peter Larson
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    There were REAL BLACK PEOPLE THERE!!!!!!

  29. C
    Posted April 17, 2010 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    “2) insisting that Obama is “very liberal,” when he hasn’t in reality done a damned thing to demonstrate that.”

    This is a very disappointing statement. Liberal policies generally emphasize the need for the government to solve problems for the people. Conservative policies generally emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems. I would consider the number of government jobs created in the recent past, a “very liberal” demonstration. Instead of evaluating politics with emotions, maybe one should take into account – the literal meanings of the political information. Pay attention to the information, not the emotional engineering created for it.

    Why are all the punks kids who used to wear anarchy signs, relating more to Liberalism? Why aren’t all the punk kids Libertarians? Libertarians are the closest thing to Anarchists. If Frank Zappa were still alive, he would probably be into the Tea Party.

    I’m not a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Anarchist, Us vs Them, etc….

  30. Posted April 17, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    What has Obama done that you’d consider “very liberal.” Read the health care bill. You won’t find liberalism there.

    And, to your “empower the individual” claim, I say “bullshit.” Tell that to the men who just died in the West Virginia mine. Tell them that they were empowered. Conservative politics is about two things – protecting the assets of the rich and exploiting resources at all costs. If anything, it’s about dis-empowering 99.9% of the population.

    And, to quote the great band Prehensile Monkey-tailed Skink, “anarchy is stupid.”

  31. Posted April 17, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    And, Pete, there were blue people in Avatar. That doesn’t mean they were real.

  32. Peter Larson
    Posted April 17, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Apparently they were hardcore pro-lifers. Maybe their dedication to legislating women’s bodies overshadowed the obvious racist elements present in fleabagger statements.

    Or maybe they were just into Avatar.

  33. Robert
    Posted April 19, 2010 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    EOS, I am sure I saw you the other day at the Diag rally. I am in agreement with you on the numbers you estimate from cmadler’s picture. Though the angle makes an estimate difficult, there is little question the number of people in the picture may approach 4 or 5 hundred. Of course, we both know there were at least 100 or so counter protesters in the back there who hung around bored.

    The crowd seemed well behaved and even friendly for the most part, at least from what I saw. I’m sypathetic with most of the concerns that were expressed, but as Mark points out, the true motives behind their expression are seriously in question. If they were sincere, they would have been doing this long before now. So it all comes off as being pretty phony. In that way I see these protests as a perfect environment for you, EOS.

    Anyway, EOS, it’s good to see you are finally learning to count and use your eyes. You obviously haven’t given up lying though. Seriously, if you can’t tell the difference, on sight between a crowd of 70,000 and over 1,000,000, you really can’t be all there mentally. It’s an incredibly easy call.

    Hopefully you and I can meet at one of these protests sometime and you can try lying to my face. It’s a whole different experience than here on Mark’s stupid blog.

  34. C
    Posted April 19, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    I thought I had made it clear by writing that expanding the government was “very liberal”. Health care bill? I don’t need anybody making decisions for me and the government does not have the accountability to enter this realm.

    “Empower the people” is not a claim, just the modern definition. Maybe I disagree with it too.
    I greatly dislike hearing people take the side of the government in anything. They are possibly worse than any of the “rich” you speak of. Of course the Conservatives will protect the assets of the rich. If the rich aren’t rich, then who will pay the taxes? They protect the assets of the ones that pay them the most. I wonder if the rich see this as an incentive & the poor just wait for a government that gives incentives to people who are less concerned with money.

    What do you mean “tell that to the coal mine blah blah blah”? Who walks into a fucking coal mine? Have some personal responsibility. Sure, maybe the company didn’t do this & that, but the workers still walked into the dark cave with flashlights to dig holes. I don’t think anyone wanted it.

    People have been sucked in by the government/media to the argue about what the government is doing/not doing for people – instead of people coming together and talking about what people should be doing for people. That makes me thankful for Dreamland Tonight.

  35. Peter Larson
    Posted April 19, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of accountability, I’m completely fascinated with the GAO’s website as of late. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s an addiction.

  36. Posted September 23, 2010 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I find Wayne Madsen actually credible in his assertion that Obama has been CIA connected all his life. It really isn’t that outlandish of an accusation. It makes sense for them to cover all bases like that, and the details Madsen reports are stunning.


  37. Kim
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    That page is for “members only” and I don’t know that I want to join.

  38. Oliva
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Robert, not re. Obama but have you heard the line, “Old spooks never die–they just go into publishing?” Just came back to me when I read your comment. Suppose it includes broadcasting too.

  39. Edward
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    So, what does he say, Robert, for those of us unwilling to register?

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