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Tea party more unpopular than atheists and Muslims

By DOUG THOMPSON
August 19, 2011

The tea party: Just a bunch of white racists

The future is anything but bright for the tea party. The faux grassroots movement started by a GOP consultant and funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers is now less popular than atheists and Muslims and ranks almost as low as the Christian ultra-right in the view of mainstream Americans.

A New York Times/CBS News poll shows tea party support down to 20 percent while unfavorable opinions of the group have doubled.

David E. Campbell, an associate professor of political science at Notre Dame, and Robert D. Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard, are the authors of “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us.”  In an August 16 op-ed column in The New York Times, they wrote:

The Tea Party is increasingly swimming against the tide of public opinion: among most Americans, even before the furor over the debt limit, its brand was becoming toxic. To embrace the Tea Party carries great political risk for Republicans, but perhaps not for the reason you might think.

Polls show that disapproval of the Tea Party is climbing. In April 2010, a New York Times/CBS News survey found that 18 percent of Americans had an unfavorable opinion of it, 21 percent had a favorable opinion and 46 percent had not heard enough. Now, 14 months later, Tea Party supporters have slipped to 20 percent, while their opponents have more than doubled, to 40 percent.

Of course, politicians of all stripes are not faring well among the public these days. But in data we have recently collected, the Tea Party ranks lower than any of the 23 other groups we asked about — lower than both Republicans and Democrats. It is even less popular than much maligned groups like “atheists” and “Muslims.” Interestingly, one group that approaches it in unpopularity is the Christian Right.

Putnam and Campbell, for the last five years, have studied and researched national political attitudes.  They interviewed more than 3,000 American voters. They found the party’s “origin story” was more fantasy than fact.

They write:

Early on, Tea Partiers were often described as nonpartisan political neophytes. Actually, the Tea Party’s supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born, and were more likely than others to have contacted government officials. In fact, past Republican affiliation is the single strongest predictor of Tea Party support today.

What Putnam and Campbell found coincides with earlier findings of research by Capitol Hill Blue. The tea party did not grow out of the grassroots but was created in the conference room of the office of GOP consultant Eddie Mahe in Washington in a project for former Republican Congressional leader Dick Armey and Charles and David Koch.

That work created a phony group called “Citizens for a Sound Economy,” which later morphed into the tea party.

Putnam and Campbell found that tea partiers are “overwhelmingly white,” that they have a lower “regard for immigrants and blacks” than other, more mainstream Republicans and they are — for the most part — longtime social conservatives who oppose abortion and want to see religion play a more prominent role in politics and governments.

Putnam and Campbell say tea partiers “seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government.”

They conclude:

On everything but the size of government, Tea Party supporters are increasingly out of step with most Americans, even many Republicans. Indeed, at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, today’s Tea Party parallels the anti-Vietnam War movement which rallied behind George S. McGovern in 1972. The McGovernite activists brought energy, but also stridency, to the Democratic Party — repelling moderate voters and damaging the Democratic brand for a generation. By embracing the Tea Party, Republicans risk repeating history.

 

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13 Responses to Tea party more unpopular than atheists and Muslims

  1. Keith

    August 19, 2011 at 7:03 am

    “Putnam and Campbell found that tea partiers are “overwhelmingly white,” that they have a lower “regard for immigrants and blacks” than other, more mainstream Republicans.”

    Translation: “A bunch of bigots”

  2. ArkansasAngie

    August 19, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Personally, my years of allowing social issues to take priority over economic are over.

    We can talk social issues later — after we have stopped the horse manure out of Washington and Wall Street.

  3. Sandune

    August 19, 2011 at 9:07 am

    I was warning about this step into a white supremacy group prior to the election of President Bush 43. A return to the separation of church and state should have nipped this horror in the bud but too many Republicans wanted the state to be downgraded and God given the key to our government. It was formed after WW2 when the Birch society was setting up forces against Communism. The opposite game against communism is not Christianity and our government added “Under God” in the pledge of allegiance to the flag which opened the whole religious army into taking the government away from the people.

    The frustration of seeing this witchcraft take over our government just to elect Christians into the House, Senate and White House has brought on far too much anger and hypocrisy. It nearly tore Reader Rant apart until Doug Thompson returned and brought sanity back to CHB.

    Christians do not understand the premise of a separation of church and state and anyone who brings this up is a heretic. I had a bulldozer take off the side of my garage when I spoke up at a revival meeting. I did not react but put the house on the market and paid for the damage. I have chosen to live in a gated community with armed guards on duty and every car video taped.

    I eventually had to leave Arizona after a number of people read my website. I was declared a witch with two black cats. Welcome to the new Christian America. If I sound pissed, I am! This is my nation not some militia white idiots who are armed and ready to fight.

    The current Republican leaders profess to get their actions from God. The Tea Party is their army.

  4. Tom Lipscomb

    August 19, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I view the Tea Party as too extreme, for example “No Compromise” is a typical attribute of an extremist group, and Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism now followed by many Tea Party members is a contradiction of Jesus’ principles. (The Tea Party) Ideology is dangerous because it enables people to believe they are doing the correct action without realizing the implications.

    I have many friends that are Tea Party members and respect them all. That said, I know they are being manipulated by various Right Wing sources, and I find that rather troubling. Here is a good example topic, Net Neutrality. All Tea Party members I talked to about Net Neutrality had a negative opinion about it, but didn’t know any details of what Net Neutrality is … all they knew was what they had heard from Jamie Radtke (now running for Senate in VA), her reasons for opposing Net Neutrality were laughable.

  5. woody188

    August 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Funny how the tea party movement is so unpopular according to the media, yet seems to keep growing in numbers. There appears to be growing credibility gap.

    Media also reported tea party supporters were wealthier and more educated than the general public. Generally speaking, better educated people are not racist and do not want to see religion mixed with politics. Seems the mainstream media is pushing “doublethink,” the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct.

    I’d like to also point out that the poll in my link found:

    A plurality do not think Sarah Palin is qualified to be president, and, despite their push for smaller government, they think that Social Security and Medicare are worth the cost to taxpayers.

    Hardly the anti-government racists as described in the OPINION PIECE written by Putnam and Campbell.

    It’s actually rather fun watching the media try to chip away at the tea party support. Another tea party fact, most are fed up with “political correctness” and trying to create a cognitive association between the tea party and racist hate groups only emboldens supporters and works as a recruiting tool as proof that the ruling One Percent is growing increasingly scared. Never forget, the NYT was sure there were WMD in Iraq. CREDIBILITY GAP!

    • egc52556

      August 19, 2011 at 3:31 pm

      The article you quote is from 16 months ago, while the RESEARCH and POLLING (not opinion) that Putnam and Campbell did is current.

      You have to lie better than that.

      • woody188

        August 20, 2011 at 11:28 pm

        So in 16 months the tea party supporters went from educated middle class to poor racist trash?

        I’m not the one lying.

  6. Bill Cravener

    August 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    The tea party is nothing more then the far right of the GOP in a new hat. Fanatics!

    • Ken

      August 23, 2011 at 12:27 am

      Hi Bill, please tell us what you’re doing to restore the Republic? Nothing, right? Because you’re in opposition to the Tea Party, you must believe in bigger government, fiscal irresponsibility, and oppressed markets. You’re way cool, I mean sick! Thanks for the laugh.

  7. Sandune

    August 19, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Hey, Woody is no liar. He’s been around here quite a while and is a good intelligent opinion thinker.

    There is no way that anyone who believes in creation over evolution can be considered smart. We all learned about creation in our childhood but those of us who have a developed brain certainly looked into science and therefore evolution to explain our species.

    In my office I have a picture of a Neanderthal male with “My Daddy” posted under his picture. Next to this I found a lovely picture of a chimpanzee that I put “My Mommy” and under both of them I had my own family including my grandkids.

    • woody188

      August 20, 2011 at 11:48 pm

      Thanks Sandy, but don’t feel a need to stick up for me. I really don’t care what other people think about me or my opinions. They can believe or they cannot. We can take the horses to water…

      That’s the hardest part of our fight. There is no way to convince those that don’t want to be convinced. That’s why I often write questions in my responses. Not because I want an answer, but because I want those that read the questions to think about the answer and the answers the media and government have supplied and see the disconnect. It’s the only way to break the mind conditioning. They have to come to the truth on their own.

      I know you had bad experiences with tea party people in Arizona. My experiences in Ohio have been pretty much the opposite.

      I’ve found the majority of tea party people see government and corporate media for what they are, something not to be trusted.

      They are law abiding people that believe strongly in our Constitution and the rule of law.

      They don’t mind immigrants. They do mind illegal immigrants because in coming here illegally they are already disrespecting our laws and tea party people don’t believe illegals will miraculously follow the law once here. They don’t understand why we have such high unemployment yet still allow work visa’s for hundreds of thousands of foreigners each year. Sending home 600,000 visa holders might just open up some jobs.

      They don’t understand why we saved bankers so they could gamble in commodities and raise the price of fuel and food for us all.

      They don’t want to pay the more than fifty percent of their income to taxes that Obamacare, TARP and other legislation are bringing into fruition.

      They seem to have the common sense that made this country great in the first place. And it’s these reasons they are feared by the ruling one percent.

  8. Rick

    August 23, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Yeah….really don’t want those TP types grabbing a heavy and doing in the skyscraper du jour.

  9. woody188

    August 24, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Since people like polls, Obama 39%, Paul 38%. It seems the “can’t win” Ron Paul is polling nearly even with the current President and is leading the Republican pack with 61%. Amazing how the mainstream media is missing that.