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. james hairston

    who cares what Harry Reid says. He wants to take the hard earned money of productive citizens and redistribute it to those
    who do not work. TEA PARTY (Taxed Enough Already) members are not racist, homophobic or any other distortion made by the left.
    To the left....you start a lemonade stand. buy the lemons, sugar and mix the water. sell the product. make a profit after
    expenses. Great fun, right? Now, consider what happens if you put in a store in a shopping center. The bureaucratic nightmares or licenses, regulations, fees and then hire employees and you find after a day of sales there is not much left for you. UNFAIR, isn't it? Oh, then the taxes for 941 and your income tax. And, the fellow outside with a car and kids and a food stamp card drive away from the grocery store with bags of groceries....where is the fairness.
    NOW YOU SEE THE PROBLEMS...redistribution of my work to someone who games the system!

    March 30, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. supersenior

    The Tea Party is so right wing that their opinion should not matter that much but they make a lot of noise and scare the GOP. My boss, who is a conservative, had to give a speech to one of their groups and came away stunned at the closed mindedness and racism. This was in California, not the Deep South.

    March 30, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  3. Mark

    Yes the media made it "cool and hip" to not reducing the deficit:)

    Good luck

    March 30, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. Dswenk

    Yeah right Mr. Reid, not only do you have no respect for fellow countrymen who have a different opinion than you do you blind yourself to thinking the Tea Party has no strength. Your party got shelled last November and you try to use a slanted poll as your proof. Keep on thinking the Tea Party has no power, 2012 will show you very wrong

    March 30, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  5. Sgt Schultz

    The Tea Party is nothing more than an activist wing of the far right Republican party. Also the media has perpetually over-hyped the Tea Party and made them more important than they really are.

    March 30, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  6. Jake

    the Tea Party is toast!

    March 30, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  7. Marvin

    CNN used to be "mainstream'. As you have moved to the left, your ratings have dropped. Why can't you figure that out? Try fair and balanced instead of slanting polls to support the Reid type Democrats and you might get back on top...

    March 30, 2011 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  8. TOTUS 4 PRESIDENT

    Note the intensive and well orchestrated efforts to smear the Tea Party, as outlined by Chuck Schumer yesterday, and then executed perfectly by Harry Reid and the wacked out loony lib Dems and their cohorts in the state-controlled MSM, included CNN as illustrated by this article. BTW, I think that Obama's tanking poll numbers are much more interesting than those of the Tea Party.

    March 30, 2011 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. Earthchild

    Finallly people are beginning to think. I hope the TEA aka Republican party implodes.

    March 30, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  10. willie floyd

    Now if they can just convince the Reps. of this fact, maybe Boner will step up and do his job.

    March 30, 2011 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  11. Deercreek4444

    Dream on!!! Wait til we get to vote again!!You might have to change your tune again!!!!

    March 30, 2011 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  12. Lori

    The Tea Party??? A passing phase of fiscal conservatives (I'll give them that although they were conveniently silent throughout the previous President's reign) who are also driven out of outrage and resentment towards the President's race (a good portion of them... let's be honest. I'm white, I hear what they say when black people aren't around. Most of them are over the age of 50). A passing phase? Why who would of thought. They'll try and build up momentum around next year's election but will be trumped by the women voters, young men and women, visible minorities, etc. (everyone but grumpy old people, rich people people and easily swayed 'religious' poor people, etc- basically John McCain's voting bloc that lost the last time). BYE, BYE TEA PARTY! Next year is a different ball game.

    March 30, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  13. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    The Tea Party has made such fools of themselves that even their fellow conservatives are abandoning them. Good for you, conservatives! Now let's get rid of the shrill abusive political nonsense on both sides and start getting together on issues in an intelligent and mutually beneficial manner.

    Yeah, I know, reasonable deb ate and compromise are not going to happen, but it's a nice thought. Historian Shelby Foote once noted that the real American genius is compromise, and that the Civil War occured because they failed to compromise anymore. Something to think about in this age of "no compromise," with the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Sumter, the start of that bloody war, nearing.

    March 30, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  14. GOP-Tea Party IDIOTs

    tea party is dead! next?

    March 30, 2011 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  15. Get A Grip

    Well of course if it's a 'CNN poll' it must be correct, right?......I can't decide which is more laughable, this CNN poll or Ried

    March 30, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  16. jazs

    Refresh my memory: wasn't the original Boston Tea Party in OPPOSITION to wealthy elites oppressing the common working people?

    March 30, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  17. duckbutter

    harry one thing is for sure....america thinks both the democrats and republican are worse.....you are a idiot....

    March 30, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  18. Mah

    finally someone has the balls to say it.

    March 30, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  19. wgw@PDX

    "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." Dick Armey, Koch Bros and the rest of the TP ILK are hardly GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT!

    March 30, 2011 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  20. Ron San Bruno Ca

    I love a good Tea Party especially when the White Rabbits start talking backwards.

    March 30, 2011 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  21. Tom

    Well of course the country doesn't care much about the tea party, but when you have the idiotic primary election system we have, the tea partiers are the ones who get elected in the primary and make it to the general election.

    March 30, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  22. Truth Dealer

    Tell it like it is Harry ! We are all tired of them ! Their lie's worked last election but people have seen what they are truly about after the election's and they are starting to turn on them ! Democrat's win when people think ! Obama 2012 !

    March 30, 2011 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  23. Duke

    Like Rubio said, what is extremist is to spend money we don't have. I don't care about the tea party but I can't care less about Reid and his political games. He puts politics 1st and country 2nd. I think his son learned from he's father those tactics, and that is why he is in troubles.

    March 30, 2011 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  24. Trent

    Tea Partiers are traitors to the Republican Party. They are nothing but libertarian radicals who have capitalized on American fear to make a desperate bid for power.

    March 30, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  25. kathleen

    hahahahahahahahaha. Dream on, Harry.

    March 30, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
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