CNN Poll: Unfavorable view of tea party on the rise
Supporters applaud as the U.S. Senate Tea Party Caucus gathers for their first meeting January 27, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
March 30th, 2011
05:30 AM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Unfavorable view of tea party on the rise

Washington (CNN) - Nearly half of all Americans have an unfavorable view of the tea party movement, putting it in the same company as the Democratic and Republican parties, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday indicates that 32 percent of the public has a favorable view of the two year old anti-tax movement, which also calls for less government spending and a more limited role for the federal government. The 32 percent favorable rating is down five points from December.

Forty-seven percent of people questioned say they have an unfavorable view of the tea party, up four points from December and an increase of 21 points from January 2010. That 47 percent is virtually identical to the 48 percent unfavorable ratings for both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in the same poll.

"This is the first time that a CNN poll has shown the tea party's unfavorable ratings as high as those of the two major parties," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "It looks like the rise in the movement's unfavorable rating has come mostly among people who make less than $50,000."

The tea party movement's unfavorable rating rose 15 points since October among lower-income Americans, compared to only five points among those making more than $50,000. Roughly half of all American households have incomes under $50,000, and half make more than that.

"It's possible the drop among lower income Americans is a reaction to the tea party's push for large cuts in government programs that help lower-income Americans, although there are certainly other factors at work," adds Holland.

The tea party was born in early 2009, as a protest movement against the Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known as TARP or the Wall Street bailout, which was implemented by President George W. Bush in the autumn of 2008, and against the federal stimulus plan, officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that President Barack Obama passed through Congress in early 2009. The grassroots movement became a player in Republican Party politics over the past two years and tea party activists were instrumental in helping the GOP win back control of the House and narrow the Democrats' majority in the Senate in last November's midterm elections.

According to the poll, 46 percent have a favorable view of the Democratic Party, with 48 percent saying they see it in a negative light. Forty-four percent of those questioned say they have a favorable view of the Republican Party, with 48 percent saying they hold an unfavorable view.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey was conducted March 11-13, with 1,023 people questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN poll • Polls • Tea Party movement
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Koch boys' fake "grassroots" movement is petering out. What's new? Angle,ODonnell and Miller were joke candidates.Now they want Herman Cain.

    March 30, 2011 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  2. hq211acr

    It was only a matter of time once the people found out that electing people with absolutely no or very little concept of how government works is not really the best idea to come down the pike. There are many ways to cut spending, and the government should be implementing them, agecies that are redundant, or have outlived their usefullness, but, these tea party people want drastic cuts, but only in areas that affect the lower or middle class. They have not (as far as I know) demanded that big businesses pay their fair share of taxes, nor have they demanded that the higher income people pay their fair share of taxes, minus the loopholes.

    March 30, 2011 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  3. carl schmidt

    The tea party was a good thing and then out of no-ware it got hijacked by a bunch wacko republicans !! This was a party for Independents who had a belly full of the TWO PARTY SYSTEM and started a party for the good of the country but leave it to the republicans to send in the snakes with money and put a hammerhead face (Sarah) on it and presto a party for nut jobs!!

    March 30, 2011 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  4. Dawn Ada, Ohio

    Seriously, you are going to call this a grass roots movement, when it was funded lock, stock and barrel by the Koch Brothers and Dick Army and other organizations that receive millions of dollars from CEO's and Oil Barrons? Really? I am glad to see that Americans are starting to wise up and see that when you support the tea party you are cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    March 30, 2011 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  5. dan

    Just look at these people.They look like"possesed" Zealots,that can,t wait to sling mud at the President,make racial statements and "posters". Thank the powers of "common sense" people to " Vote them Gone! They will have the "Legacy" of the party who tried to kill the middleclass,and rob the "Poor and Unemployed. Good Bye.

    March 30, 2011 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  6. Cfrench

    As intelligent, rational thinking Americans see the tea-baggers for what they are, a bunch of middle class white racists, the tea party will go the way of the dinosuars. The poll findings give me hope that this country will move away from the republican/tea-bagger politics of hate, fear and division.

    March 30, 2011 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  7. Jimm

    The only thing that is surprising is that their unfavorable ratings are only at 47%...my guess is this goes up as people realize this group merely a front for the ultra-wealthy to curb government oversight and regulations, while taking away things from the working class.

    March 30, 2011 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  8. annie s

    To date, the Tea Party has been responsible for electing officials who have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to stop abortion, make women's health care less accessible, overturn a bill that extends health insurance coverage to more Americans, bust unions and reduce the pay and benefits of average Americans, all the while fighting to remove safety and financial regulations and to lower taxes for corporations (the top 25% of whom basically already pay no federal tax) and the wealthiest among us. If anyone has a favorable opinion of the Tea Party, it can only be that they are all wealthy – or too dumb to understand that then policies they espouse will hurt rather than help Americans.

    March 30, 2011 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  9. The reality is...

    Down because of how the media portrays them. The Tea Party will still have a huge impact on elections because the taxpayers are fed up with the overspending of their hard earned $$.

    March 30, 2011 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Roughly half of all American households have incomes under $50,000, and half make more than that.
    -------------------------------------------------–
    Gee, ya' think? Thanks for the clarification CNN.
    Meanwhile..... The Tea Party, if the truth were EVER told on this venue vis-a-vis this subject, was a reactionary movement borne out of the fact that a Black man was duly elected President of the United States. Period. End of subject. Stop the spin.

    March 30, 2011 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Next week, I will meet with my accountant, and file my income taxes. Thanks to the efforts by the tea baggers and the republican party to shut down government, my refund will be delayed as long as they play their stupid games. There is no leader with common sense in the republican/bagger party. Fire Boner in 2012!

    March 30, 2011 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  12. rusty155

    Any vote for any back by the TEA PARTY , you will end up with no right and making Mim. Wage and they will lower that. And the Middle Class and the poor will be living on the street. The Koch's Brother only care about how the Rich can get Richer. Look at Wisconsin the Tea Party back Republican all ready trying to take your Collective Bargaining right a way. And that Against your first Amendment under the U.S. Constitution of America.

    March 30, 2011 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  13. willie floyd

    Looks like people are FINALLY LISTENING to what the "partiers" are saying. My biggest problem in understanding their ideas is they say "stay out of our personal lives", but then come across with some of the most personal decisions a person ever has to make-abortion #1 in my mind, can they not see the difference between pro-life and pro-choice??-freedom of religion-does our constitution not give citizens the right to worship as they choose? I've been a Christian over 55 yrs. but that doesn't mean I want to take away any individuals' right to choose. STRONG BELIEVER IN SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE! I prefer to let my faith be shown in my daily living as I treat my fellow man as I would like to be treated.

    March 30, 2011 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  14. Mike in MO

    Well, that didn't take long. I guess when you say less government out of one side of your mouth while advocating so much government intrusion out of the other side, people realize you're little more than one more hyper-conservative hypocrite...

    March 30, 2011 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  15. HJA

    My contacts with TP members has been pretty much negative. They don't know facts, they live by the words of Glenn and Rush. If you contrdict them look out! They get nasty.

    March 30, 2011 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    What took Americans so long to see that the Koch brothers and their ilk, created the bagger movement and used ignorant people who were afraid of a black president, to elect candidates who want to destroy workers and the middle class? Oh, now I remember, it was the lies and misinformation from Fox (Sammans and Hannity should be fired) and the 24/7 fear and hate cycle of the extreme media.

    March 30, 2011 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  17. greg in jax

    It's because they are unwilling to compromise, which is something that HAS to be done in a country of over 300,000,000. Their my way or the highway attitude just does not work and only benefits those that have money. Plus, the ever more apparent it becomes that the billionaire brothers are behind the entire movement, the less enthused poor people are for fighting the fat cats to stay fat at the cost of middle america.

    March 30, 2011 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  18. NormAmerican

    It makes sense. They are not in favor of lower taxes because they do not pay taxes. They take from those that do.

    March 30, 2011 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  19. jimatmadison

    "The tea party movement's unfavorable rating rose 15 points since October among lower-income Americans"

    You mean you folks finally figured out that the interests of the billionaire Koch brothers really doesn't coincide with your own interests?

    About time.

    March 30, 2011 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  20. Don Beal

    This isn't surprising. Reality is sinking in. Americans are in favor of reduced government until they find out that they are the targets of the reduction.

    March 30, 2011 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  21. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    You know that when the Kochs, Armey and the Turd Blossom Rove are involved, these manufactured groups do not have the best interests of Americans at heart, as they are rich people looking our for their own monetary well being.

    March 30, 2011 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  22. DAW, NC

    maybe people are starting to understand what the rhetoric really means in application??? bigotry, racism, fear mongering, limiting/eliminating choices that they disagree with etc.

    March 30, 2011 08:19 am at 8:19 am |