April 21st, 2010
06:12 PM ET
4 years ago

Steele: Tea Party makes up 'a third or more' of voters

RNC Chair Michael Steele said Tuesday that Tea Party activists make up 'a third or more' of the voting age population.
RNC Chair Michael Steele said Tuesday that Tea Party activists make up 'a third or more' of the voting age population.

Washington (CNN) - In a speech to college students on Tuesday in Chicago, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said that Tea Party activists make up "a third or more" of the voting age population.

"I have advised our state chairs: Don't turn your nose up, or turn away those who are active in the Tea Party movement. Embrace them. Welcome them. Talk to them," Steele told a group of DePaul University students, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Those activists have now become a very large part of our voting bloc," he continued. "They represent a third or more of the voting age population, so they're going to have a profound impact on elections and in some cases in the primaries this November and this spring. Both parties had better pay attention."

Recent polling, however, suggests that the Tea Party movement is not as large as Steele claims.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research poll released last week, roughly 10 percent of Americans say they have actively supported the Tea Party movement, either by donating money, attending a rally or taking some other active step. Another 17 percent of Americans say they generally support the movement, but have not directly participated in it.

The RNC chairman also kept to his official posture of not endorsing a candidate in the Florida Republican Senate primary, even as other Republicans begin to coalesce around former state House Speaker Marco Rubio. Some Republicans are abandoning Rubio's rival, Gov. Charlie Crist, amid rumors that he may run as an independent.

"In Florida, Marco Rubio has captured the imagination of the Tea Party there to the detriment of the governor, Gov. Crist, but from my perspective, Marco Rubio if he wins is a good candidate to run for the U.S. Senate," Steele told the students, according to the paper. "Should Gov. Crist win, he's a good candidate to run for the U.S. Senate. It's a win-win."


Filed under: Michael Steele • RNC • Tea Party movement
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. ib

    The far left will find out in Nov. that the tea party is a lot larger than polls and others give them credit for. It's time to turn this country back to center away from the far left or far right.

    April 21, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  2. Anita in AZ

    The GOP is getting to where everything they say is a lie.

    April 21, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  3. Bob of Lompoc

    He becomes dumber with each passing day. Republicans: Please keep him in that office.

    April 21, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  4. john in Cal

    one third of the voters? REALLY? I don't think so buddy. most folks I talk to think they are nutters in GOP clothing. That would mean that everyone who is a GOPer would also have to be a teabagger.Right. The biggest group of voters in the US are–here it comes-are you ready for it–Independants. Yeaaaaaaa.

    April 21, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  5. kr

    Mr Steel they are the base an extension of the GOP so do not get all egotistical just yet. Polls can change and with all the hate and rhetoric in this party the circumstances can really change.

    April 21, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  6. ed fl

    What do you expect from someone is in over his head. As Obama's record starts to impress the REAL America[and it is and will continue] the GOP is only using him to put up a front against an African-American President .That way they would not appear as racist as they really are. It's effect is more visible now that ever. When they get their butts kicked in the furure elections they can blame it on Steele.

    April 21, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  7. David

    And almost everyone is a lifetime GOP voter

    April 21, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    And guess what Mr. Steele, the Tea Party don't lke you either, Republican or not.

    April 21, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  9. wow

    good counting skills skippy.

    April 21, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  10. Former Republican, now an Independent

    I think this is a huge exageration. Steele is grabbing at straws because he doesn't have a single candidate in his party that is qualified to be President, and very few qualified to be in congress. When you are desperate, you will join in with any group of extremists. Who's next to join the republicans, the Neo-Nazis?

    April 21, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  11. Bob (Illinois)

    I don't know what that clown is smoking but I'll bet it's a controlled substance. That's the only way I can see him making such a dumb statement.

    April 21, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  12. Tired_of_make_believe

    I am really getting tired of the distorted "facts" that continue to spew from these politicians mouths. Maybe if there was a law against lying as a public official, we could get some truth once in awhile. Wait, who am I kidding. As long as the pursuit of power takes precedent over hard working Americans, we will never hear straight talk from the mouths of these bufoons. Republicans and Democrats alike.

    April 21, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  13. CONNIE

    I bet it might be higher, people are tired of all the crap that the government is trying to ram down our throat. I give Obama credit that he wants to do everything but not so fast these are big decisions that need to be made and Obama doesn't have the experience yet to make these.

    April 21, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  14. Mike In Red State Kanass

    A third or more? Dude stop!!! We know that you were picked by the GOP to prove they were open to diversity. But all you have been doing is playing into white fear that Affirmative Action is a bad thing that promotes incompetence beyond their skill set. Or maybe they are paying you to look incompetent. Can't tell you party is so ridiculous these days.

    April 21, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  15. hongli

    I thought this guy had been fired. Oh !he was in hiding. What a JERK!

    April 21, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  16. Michael

    Mr Steele is nuts! He is really thinking about the one third of the 14 million raised by repuglicans this year, he has spent on jets, supplies, lodges, hotels, vacations and women workers or performers in clubs repuglicans solicit!

    April 21, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  17. La Chatte

    Dream on, Mikey!

    April 21, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  18. Kerstin

    Not likely, I wasn't polled in that survey, so it is not accurate.

    April 21, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. Cali girl

    I wonder what the Tea Party thinks of him.
    He would be the 'One" guy for them too I guess.

    April 21, 2010 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  20. J.T.

    So the puppet speaks again.

    April 21, 2010 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  21. ConstitutionalPatriot

    The GOP better learn a lesson and throw the neocon bums out of the party as they belong with the liberals anyway. Get back to your libertarian roots and give our constitution back!

    April 21, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  22. yam-yam

    I wonder whose ideology or what poll is he using to come up with that? He's making it up again. I wonder if the students were listening?

    April 21, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  23. dale

    And they would gladly drag Michael behind a truck while singing Amazing Grace.

    April 21, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  24. Moderate

    1/3 of the voters? I doubt it

    April 21, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  25. pharoah

    You'll all be shocked!
    You'll get a good old fashioned electoral beating in November.
    You playing with yourself.
    You thought the Blue dogs would save you the did not.
    You think the Tea-party will save you in November?
    They will not.
    Wanna bet?
    ;-)=)

    April 21, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
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