March 27, 2010

My inbox is a full-time job all of its own, but I do get a lot of useful information passed on to me. Quinnipiac released a new poll about the Tea Party movement and the results are everything C&L has been saying about them.

Looking at voters who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement:

  • 74 percent are Republicans or independent voters leaning Republican;
  • 16 percent are Democrats or independent voters leaning Democratic;
  • 5 percent are solidly independent;
  • 45 percent are men;
  • 55 percent are women;
  • 88 percent are white;
  • 77 percent voted for Sen. John McCain in 2008;
  • 15 percent voted for President Barack Obama.

A total of 19 percent of American voters trust government to do the right thing "almost all of the time" or "most of the time," compared to only 4 percent of Tea Party members.

While only 33 percent of all voters have a favorable opinion of Sarah Palin, 72 percent of Tea Party members have a favorable opinion of her.

The Teabaggers are essentially an extension of the conservative movement -- only, Fox News needed to tap into the body politic as far right as they could go to energize it. And in that Ailes-directed task, they were very successful. I laugh when I hear the MSM try to explain them to their audiences. They refuse to tell the truth about them in any detail or even admit the fact that they were cultivated with great care by Fox News.

And if you hear people trying to tell you that they are angry Independent voters, well, use this poll, our articles and, of course, Digby.

The Hard Core Right

In case anyone's still thinking that the teabaggers are "independent" middle of the road types who disdain both the right and the left equally,this new Quinnipiac Poll should finally put that to rest.

Ed Kilgore summarizes:

...the Tea Party folk [are] basically, very conservative Republicans determined to pressure the GOP to move to the right or suffer the consequences--in other words, a radicalized GOP base.

The alternative explanation has been that the Tea Partiers represent independent voters who are fed up with government and will join with Republicans to create a stable majority in this "center-right nation" if and only if Republicans stop talking about cultural issues and focus on lower taxes, smaller government and the economy. Nothing in the Quinnipiac poll supports that proposition. On question after question, self-identified Tea Partiers (13% of the total sample) are much closer in their views to self-identified Republicans than to self-identified independents. Most notably, the approval/disapproval rating for the Republican Party is 60/20 among Tea Partiers and 28/42 among indies. Among those voting in 2008, Tea Partiers went for McCain by a margin of 77/15; indies split down the middle (going for McCain 46/42). Tea Partiers have a favorable view of Sarah Palin by a 72/14 margin (significantly higher than among Republicans), while indies have an unfavorable view of her by a 49/34 margin. Tea Partiers self-identify as Republicans or Republican-leaners by a 74/16 margin. These are not the same people by any stretch of the imagination.

The poll doesn't ask enough questions to get at the details of Tea Party ideology, but it also doesn't supply any ammunition to the common perception that Tea Partiers are libertarians at heart, and/or that they are displacing the Christian Right within the conservative coalition. Actually, 21% of self-identified white "born-again" evangelicals consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement, well above the 13% figure for all voters. And the the two categories of voters share a rare positive attachment to Sarah Palin (white "born-agains" approve of her by a 55/29 margin, Tea Partiers by a 72/14 margin).

At some point, the more questionable assumptions that pundits are making about the Tea Folk--they are right-trending independents, they are hostile to the Christian Right--need to yield to empirical evidence. Now would be a good time to start.

Considering the media just figured out that some of the opposition to the bill over the past few months was from liberals who wanted a public option or single payer, I'm not holding my breath on that.

But it really doesn't take a poll to see that these tea partiers are ill-informed, Beck watching right wingers. All you have to do is read their signs and listen to what they say. They are the hardcore GOP base. And they are very, very sore losers. It's one of their defining characteristics.

The media will fight this fairly accurate assessment of them tooth and nail, but they'll see starting in the 2010 midterms if the teabaggers are a real third party. Sarah Palin and Karl Rove have been begging the Tea Partiers not to form their own party, but I really doubt they need them for that. There will be a few groups that break off and do their own thing, but if I had to put a number on it, then I'd say about 88% of them will join the GOP in the end.

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