Reid: 'Country doesn't care much about the Tea Party,' cites new CNN poll
March 30th, 2011
04:24 PM ET
3 years ago

Reid: 'Country doesn't care much about the Tea Party,' cites new CNN poll

Washington (CNN) - Citing a fresh CNN poll, the most powerful man in the Senate made some bold declarations about the Tea Party Wednesday: that the "country doesn't care much about the Tea Party," and that the Republican Party should not shackle itself to the conservative movement's demands regarding cuts to the federal budget.

House Speaker John Boehner is "getting a lot of pressure from the Tea Party folks," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said from the Senate floor.

Reid also said: "The people who care about the Tea Party are a very small number who care about them positively," adding, "Those who care about them negatively is very high – more than 50-percent."

Though his reference was not exactly accurate, Reid was pointing to numbers found in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday morning.

It shows that 32 percent of the public has a favorable view of the Tea Party movement – down five points since December – while 47 percent have an unfavorable view, up four points from December.

"The Tea Party's unpopularity continues to grow," Reid said. "Because the American people sees how unreasonable they are. So let me reiterate my hope that the Republican leadership recognizes they can't continue to be pulled to the right by the radical, unrealistic, unreasonable…faction: the Tea Party."

"If people want to move the country forward, they can't let the Tea Party call the shots," Reid said.

What Reid did not mention is that the Tea Party's unfavorable ratings somewhat mirror those for the Democratic and Republican parties.

CNN contacted leaders of three prominent Tea Party groups - the Tea Party Express, the Tea Party Nation, and the Tea Party Patriots – but did not receive a response.

The CNN poll, and Reid's use of its numbers, comes as the clock ticks toward a possible government shutdown at the end of next week and concurrent negotiations to avoid it.

Democratic and Republican leaders have hit an impasse over how to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year that ends September 30. Lawmakers have passed two or three week funding extensions for the past two months.

While mentioning the House passed spending proposal that included $61 billion in cuts, House Speaker John Boehner told reporters on Wednesday, "It's time for Senate Democrats to pass a bill. The House has passed our bill and it's been nearly 40 days."

"Now the Senate says, 'We have a plan,'" Boehner added. "Well great. Pass the damn thing! Alright? And send it over here and let's have real negotiations."

Democrats have blasted the Republican spending cut proposal as too deep. As they make their case publicly, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate was caught in a candid moment pushing another word.

On a conference call, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, instructed senators from his party to describe GOP cuts as "extreme" and to blame the Tea Party for essentially holding Boehner hostage over the budget. Schumer was unaware that reporters were listening in on the conference call.

Though Republicans have blasted Schumer's comments as political brinksmanship, his words may ring true to some.

Tea Party groups, and their supporters, have recently threatened that GOP lawmakers should push for even larger spending cuts – or possibly face electoral challenges in 2012. And on Thursday, one of the largest of the groups – the Tea Party Patriots – will stage a Capitol Hill rally.

"Tell them: you want the full $100 billion in cuts they promised," the Patriots told its supporters on its website.

"We need bold leadership and we need it now."

–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN


Filed under: CNN poll • Harry Reid
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. rob

    Keep talking Sen Ried. The more you and your fellow demegouges in your party try to make the real budget crises we face a political circus and the more you smear groups of people who only want to save our future the more the American people will be convinced to come out in huge numbers next election to vote more of you out.

    The Dems cannot defend the spending levels they want, thats why they never tried to pass a budget last year before the elections. I would love CNN to stop crowing that "The most powerfull man in the Senate" cited their poll and point out the utter hypocracy of the Dems possition.

    March 30, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. Tim

    Right, the country cares so little about the tea party that it just threw out a bunch of bums in the Democratic party. Unfortunately, and quite frankly truly amazing, is that Reid wasn't one of them. I know he's a boxer, and I've never boxed in my life, but I'd love to get this swine into a ring and give him a chance to shut me up.

    March 30, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. T'sah from Virginia

    "If people want to move the country forward…”
    Then they must exclude the people who are horrid!!
    “…they can't let the Tea Party call the shots!!”
    Otherwise this already fragile country will go to pot!!!

    The TP showed up from nowhere
    Made noise and forced many to stare
    But if the message was right
    And more of us joined in their fight
    The country will now be moving more fair

    But the TP chose to move far-right
    And that decision of theirs was not bright
    So now these sorry-ash folks
    Really look like a JOKE
    While their poll number go down each night!!!

    March 30, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. Tim

    Cuts should be way more severe than are being proposed. The spoiled children in charge are out of control and need to be disciplined, if you know what I mean.

    March 30, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. WiredwierdinSF

    The country does not care much about Harry Reid. Unless you are a corrupt union executive and need a mouthpiece in Washington, or or course an even more corrupt, hypocritical, lying democrat libersal, then you love Dingy Harry. Again if you are a corrupt, inept, incompetent, union toady president, you need Reid.

    March 30, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. once upon a horse

    could it be possible that more Americans are turning off the right wing talk shows and FoxNews enough to see what is REALLY going on in this country? When it was said by some that this movement was right wing crazy and to some extent racist, the far right came out in it's defense blasting the "evil left wing media" for making such untrue statements. Saying the Democrats and many on the left were running scared of the Tea Party movement. Well now it looks like it's the GOP that's running scared of it because it is causing a fracture in their party. The Tea Party knew how to campaign and get to people's emotions, but once elected seem to prove that they don't know how to govern. And more people I think might be having voters remorse. Everybody's numbers right now, even Obama's are DOWN because we the people aren't sure what we are getting. But at least right now the POTUS numbers are higher than both Congress and the Tea Party for what it's worth.

    March 30, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. Scott Jones

    Hmm 47 percent support Tea Party – is America "not supporting the Tea Party....then what does it say about President Obama that his approval rating is lower than that? Where is that story CNN? How about an article like : more Americans support Tea Party than the President. I mean 47% is more than 42% right?

    March 30, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  8. J. Eagle

    I guess he was sleeping during the last Election. What a buffoon

    March 30, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  9. bo-D

    Good reid tell it like it is gop being held hostage by the 21st century confederate rebels

    March 30, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  10. KatR

    I think that members of the Tea Party are a group that was known as "hawks" during the turbulent 60s. They lost out to those of us known as "doves" back then. They're trying again but I predict they will lose again.

    March 30, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  11. S. In California - Obama 2012

    You sure speak for me Senator Reid. I DON'T CARE ABOUT THEM AT ALL OR WHAT THEY CARE ABOUT.

    March 30, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  12. kelsey's grammar

    Maybe if the tea party drank a better brew, they'd have more clout. Whatever is in their tea now is some funny stuff.

    March 30, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. rocky

    The Tea party are morons tax cuts is one of the reasons we are in this mess everyone needs to pay there fair share of taxes.

    March 30, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  14. bobden

    Who created the teaparty? Koch brothers. And it is supported by other wealthy people and companies making billions in profits but paying little or nothing in taxes. They want us, the lower and middle classes to pay their share of the cost of running the country. I am happy to pay my share, but I do not want to pay their share.

    March 30, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Reid is right. What he didn't say, though, is that the vast majority of Americans are waking up to the fact the Tea Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the faceless billionaire Greedy Old Pigs club. These people are cult members, pure and simple.

    March 30, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  16. TenaciousTexan

    Didn't anybody ever tell Harry Reid that you can't use media polls for anything more than entertainment. The people that watch CNN are vastly different than those that watch competing networks. Sure CNN viewers hate Tea Partiers, but Fox viewers love them!! Reid is wishful thinking. Both parties would be wise not to count the Tea Party out yet.

    March 30, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  17. Greg

    If nobody likes the Tea party it sure is funny how they swept many of their candidates into office in November. That was only 5 months ago. What people fail to realize is the tea party is not just a group of people affiliated with a party. It is a movement of people that may be republican or democrat or independent that are sick and tired of the government playing games. Here's a prime example in Mr. Reid playing these games. Honest people just want the government to quit playing games with our money quit playing games with our lives and quit doing whatever suits them best and start doing for the people what is good for the people. If we can budget our own pocket books they should be able to do theirs and i'm sorry less than 2% of a budget cut is NOT a budget cut. If I did that I'd go bankrupt and that is exactly where the country is going. One way or the other the easy way, smart way or the very difficult way it is coming it's just a matter of which way do we want to go.

    March 30, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  18. Dean

    Got news for you Harry, the people don't think very much of congress as a whole. The whole lot is pretty much worthless. And you are leading the way.

    March 30, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  19. CNN The Masters of Spin

    You just keep telling yourself that all the way to the unemployment line.....or wherever old, useless, senile, X Liberal Senators go. And oh yeah......tell Nancy hello for me.

    March 30, 2011 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  20. Bill Tailor

    CNN polls are not balanced and primarily represent the left. Reid and CNN work closely.

    March 30, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  21. one voice

    The teaparty is a FAKE PATRIOT MOVEMENT funded by the Billionaire Koch Brothers who in turn will continue to do A SMACK DOWN on the middle class. When will the teaparty/Gop supporters see that they are voting against their own best interest. WAKE UP FOOLS!!!

    March 30, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  22. one voice

    THANK YOU HARRY, Call them out for what they are, CORPORATE SHILLS

    March 30, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  23. MJ

    Reid is, and always will be, an idiot. By the way, no one has ever called for my opinion. Must use a special list of people to respond to the CNN polls.

    March 30, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  24. annie s

    So, on a conference call, Sen. Schumer asked Democrats to tell the truth about the Republican cuts and the Tea Party? The nerve!

    March 30, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  25. Steven Bannister

    If the majority of the people don't support the Tea Party, that means the majority of the people don't support America itself. That may seem like an extreme statement, but it's not.

    In a nutshell, the basic concept of America itself is a limited, constitutional republic that stays within it's budget. That's it. And that's ALL the Tea Party people want – a limited, constitutional republic that stays within it's budget. So if you don't support the Tea Party, you really don't support America, you support something else, something America was never supposed to be. That's how I see it.

    March 30, 2011 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
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