Poll illuminates tea-partiers’ views on race

Thanks to Greg Mitchell’s Twitter feed, I know far more about the New York Times/CBS News poll of tea-party supporters than I would have if I’d relied solely on the Times’ polite take. (The Times does better with an interactive presentation of the complete results.) What you really want to do is check out CBS News’ coverage, starting here. A few findings that are worth pondering:

  • Fewer than half — 41 percent — believe President Obama was born in the United States. Thirty percent flatly declare that Obama was born in another country, and another 29 percent don’t know. In other words, 59 percent of tea-partiers are either hard-core or soft-core birthers.
  • Then again, 32 percent of Republicans believe Obama was born in another country.
  • Eighteen percent of Americans identify with the tea-party movement, and just one percent of them are black. Not surprisingly, 52 percent of this overwhelmingly white group say that too much is made of the problems facing black people, and one-fourth believe the Obama administration favors blacks over whites.
  • Fifty-four percent are Republicans, and 41 percent are independents. Given that 73 percent say they’re conservatives, it stands to reason that most of the independents are politically to the right of where they perceive the Republican Party to be. Just 5 percent say they are Democrats.
  • Sixty-four percent believe a flat-out falsehood (other than the birther falsehood): that taxes for most Americans have risen during the Obama presidency. In fact, they have fallen.
  • And here’s the explanation: 63 percent say they get most of their news from the Fox News Channel, and large majorities hold favorable view of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.
  • While anger is a prime motivating factor, tea-party “activists” turn out to be even angrier than mere supporters: 72 percent of activists are mad as hell, compared to 53 percent of supporters.

Conclusion: Anyone who thinks the tea-party movement isn’t motivated by racial fears is deluding him- or herself.

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21 thoughts on “Poll illuminates tea-partiers’ views on race

  1. B.A. DuBois

    Good point, Dan, about the poll stating that 32 percent of Republicans believe that Obama was born in another country (a belief, I hasten to add, that I don’t share…)

    Then again, 35 percent of Democrats believe George Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance, according to this Rasmussen poll:

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/bush_administration/22_believe_bush_knew_about_9_11_attacks_in_advance

    Which tells me that, alas, both parties have a significant chunk of their base who live in tinfoil hat land…

    1. Dan Kennedy Post author

      @B.A.: Well, that is truly ridiculous. Then again, the belief that Franklin Roosevelt knew about Pearl Harbor in advance persisted for generations.

      On the other hand, if the question had been if Bush should have known about the 9/11 attacks in advance (generally, not specifically), then the correct answer would be a resounding yes.

  2. L.K. Collins

    Studies have shown that 98.76% don’t care where Dan Kennedy was born. The studies have a margin of error of 3.5%.

    That means that potentially 102.1% of the people couln’t care less!

    So your point of this post was?

    More hyperbole and scare? Hatred?

  3. BP Myers

    B.A. DuBois said: Then again, 35 percent of Democrats believe George Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance, according to this Rasmussen poll:

    Media Matters did a fairly good job of analyzing the flawed results of that Rasmussen Poll here, its most basic flaw apparently the amiguity of the question.

  4. Tony Schinella

    Dan, can you source this:

    Sixty-four percent believe a flat-out falsehood (other than the birther falsehood): that taxes for most Americans have risen during the Obama presidency. In fact, they have fallen.

    I have seen a lot of other things that show the exact opposite.

    1. Dan Kennedy Post author

      @Sean: When I heard that high-pitched yipping, I thought it was Palin. Then I realized it was Michael Graham.

  5. Steve Stein

    I don’t think you gave a link to the actual poll, which is here, in pdf form.

    You don’t mention Mitchell’s top-line: 24%(!) think violence against the government is sometimes justified (compared to 16% overall).

    Some interesting things hidden in that poll

    – TPers are whiter
    – TPers are richer
    – TPers are more educated
    – TPers are more likely to be Republican
    – TPers are more likely to be male

    than the average American.

    TPers do not appear to be religious conservatives – only 32% are strictly anti-abortion, and only 40% are against civil unions for gays. (While these percentages are higher than the US as a whole, I think they’re lower than the average for Republicans.)

    The TPers are also much more likely to have voted. This might be good news for Democrats – these people voted in 2008 and they didn’t vote for Democrats and the Republicans STILL got swamped.

  6. Steve Stein

    Oh, one more interesting thing – 47% of Tea Partiers don’t think Palin would be an effective President.

    If that’s her BASE, I don’t think that’s a good number.

  7. Al Quint

    Dan… LOL about Michael Graham. And when I saw him on Emily Rooney’s show last night (from a report), I was getting dizzy watching him swing his hands around. I’ve taken to calling him the “Graham the Gesticulator.”

    1. Dan Kennedy Post author

      @Al: Has Graham ever gotten over the notion that the driving laws should somehow not apply to him? I haven’t listened to him in ages, mainly because I’m afraid my windshield will shatter when he gets excited.

  8. Renee Aste

    @Steve

    As someone finds Palin likable, I agree she shouldn’t run for President. It was unfortunate of McCain to pick her as a running mate, when she had little record being only two years of governor and had limited time to catch up on the issues. Individuals who seek nation wide offices, like President/Vice President do their homework a good year in advance. She was placed in a situation where I believe even the most intelligent person couldn’t get caught up on all the issues.

    After the election, she was placed in a situation where she didn’t believe she could govern Alaska effective due to media outlets overwhelming coverage of every aspect of her life. She stepped aside, which is a good thing for her state. Unfortunate though because she was not able to prove or disprove herself as a capable leader.

  9. BP Myers

    Dan Kennedy says: Has Graham ever gotten over the notion that the driving laws should somehow not apply to him?

    I was caught up in the same thing that snagged Graham, though fortunately, I didn’t need to be pulled over to learn my license had expired. It might have been a retail clerk who pointed it out.

    It pissed me off to no end that they ended notification, which they apparently announced in the “public notices” section of newspapers announcing divorces and such. I had no idea.

    What the hell are we paying for?

  10. Sean Griffin

    What’s even more alarming, some Tea Party protesters who showed up in D.C. today found former SNL cast member Victoria Jackson’s song “There’s a Communist in the White House” entertaining:

  11. Steve Stein

    @Renee – A few things about your comment don’t make sense to me. “She was placed in a situation where even the most intelligent person couldn’t get caught up on the issues”? Well, OK, but if she had to play catch-up, why did she accept the gig in the first place? No one held a gun to her head!

    She stepped aside as governor because of media coverage of her life? How do you know that? I think she quit because she saw the chance to make big bucks, and Alaska was too small a place for her. That appears to be the more plausible answer.

  12. Al Quint

    @Sean… Victoria WHO? My gosh, between her voice and Sarah Palin’s, I imagine there were more than a few shattered windows in the area.

    I know that she’s been making the right-wing rounds for some time now. What’s sad is I posted that video on one of my “social networking” page this week, as well as a clip where she called Obama a communist and people thought it was some Onion or Andy Kaufman-esque satire.

  13. Rich Kenney

    Uh oh. Now, because I believe in a lot of the tea party positions, and I’m a white Republican, I’ve been called out for associating with a hate group. Hell, I might even be a racist myself, huh, Dan?

    I think you are engaging in hate speech for making those insinuations. One thing I am learning from you is that you are incapable of civil discourse. You are quick to denigate anyone with a differing opinion. That tells me a lot.

    1. Dan Kennedy Post author

      @Rich: Let’s see … I have not accused you of engaging in hate speech, but you have now accused me of engaging in hate speech. And I’m the one who’s not civil? OK. We all need our rationalizations, I suppose.

  14. Rich Kenney

    You have lumped me into a group. The whole point of your post was to lump people into a group. The whole point of your post was to suggest that the group had racist tendencies. I thought this was a different kind of blog, that’s all.

  15. L.K. Collins

    There are two lumps.

    A lump for those with whom Dan agrees (the all-seeing/all-knowing elite), and another for those with whom he doesn’t (the loonies).

    He protests otherwise, but his musings are a dead giveaway.

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