CNN Poll: Tea party gets boost from IRS controversy
May 20th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Tea party gets boost from IRS controversy

Washington (CNN) - As a major tea party group plans protests Tuesday at Internal Revenue Service offices across the country, a new national poll indicates that the IRS controversy has given the four-year-old movement a shot in the arm.

The week-and-a-half-old controversy, which involves the IRS targeting of tea party and other conservative groups which were seeking tax exempt status, has dominated headlines and put the White House on the defensive.

And according to a CNN/ORC International survey released Monday, it's also boosted the favorable rating for the tea party movement. Thirty-seven percent of people questioned said they see the tea party in a favorable light, up nine percentage points from CNN's March poll. But a plurality still view the movement unfavorably.

"Politically, the group that may have benefitted the most from last week's news is the tea party movement, which may be getting something akin to a 'sympathy vote' for being targeted by the highly unpopular IRS," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The 37% favorable rating for tea party is just one point shy of their all-time high in CNN polling, which they reached twice in 2010, during the heyday of the movement.

But according to the new poll, 45% of the public continues to hold an unfavorable view of the tea party, with just over one in ten saying they don't have an opinion. The 45% unfavorable rating for the tea party is down five points from a CNN survey from last November.

The IRS scandal is breathing new life into the tea party movement, says Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, a grassroots organization which has been a key player in the rise of the movement.

"You've seen a lot more energy and judging from the activity on the social networks, people are pissed off about this," Kibbe recently told CNN National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta.

Niger Innis of TheTeaPart.net agrees.

"Does this pump additional fuel into our tank? Yes it does," said Innis last Thursday on Capitol Hill at a tea party news conference on the IRS controversy that drew movement leaders and activists from across the country. At the event, tea party groups shared their stories of what they described as years of harassment from the IRS over their attempts to receive tax exempt status.

Tuesday, the Tea Party Patriots, one of the movement's largest national groups, plans protests at IRS offices across the country.

The tea party, an anti-big government movement, was formed in early 2009, in opposition to both the Wall Street bailouts put in place by outgoing President George W. Bush and the federal stimulus plan being pushed by incoming President Barack Obama.

The poll was conducted by ORC International for CNN on May 17-18, with 923 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Awesome. Hopefully that means they'll run even more whackjobs next year and we can watch the GOP lose races they thought safe as a result of the Angle-O'Donnell Effect. Please proceed, Teatrolls. Put that new fuel in your Kochmobile tanks and drive them all over the establishment GOPers, we beg you.

    May 20, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. Stephen

    Very useless movement. Don't know why this Tea party even got a licence to operate as an organization. Nothing will boost nothing for them. Bachmann and co, nothing for you next year..

    May 20, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Me

    Sniffit

    Awesome. Hopefully that means they'll run even more whackjobs next year and we can watch the GOP lose races they thought safe as a result of the Angle-O'Donnell Effect. Please proceed, Teatrolls. Put that new fuel in your Kochmobile tanks and drive them all over the establishment GOPers, we beg you.
    ___________________

    Hey Sniffit, how did the last special election go for you lefties???? LOL That is just the beginning, wait till 2014 and 2016!!! TRUE American people are sick of the BS!!!

    May 20, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The 37% favorable rating for tea party is just one point shy of their all-time high in CNN polling, which they reached twice in 2010, during the heyday of the movement."

    Oh, dear. CNN has gone hog wild crazy promoting this TeaPer stuff and what did they (CNN & Koch) get out of it? Nada. Zilch. Nothing.

    May 20, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. California Gary

    So the Tea Party is more popular than the IRS? That's a pretty low bar to clear.......I think even the scent of a skunk is more popular than the IRS. I agree with Sniffit........I hope this pumps them up and encourages them to run even more nut bags in 2014.

    May 20, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. Malory Archer

    And once this so-called "controversy" passes their approvals will fall even lower than they were in March.

    May 20, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. Kevin

    Sniffit, first off please make a point without calling anyone names...Second, your point makes no sense and just bashes the other party because you disagree with them. What I also find interesting is that you forget to mention had this happened under President Bush or a Republican president, Democrats would be all over this...

    May 20, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. edog355

    The country is truly in a sad state when the Tea Party, a movement created to emphasize the importance of the Bill of Rights, advocate for personal freedom and promote a fiscally-responsible government is viewed as "unfavorable" by a majority of the country.

    May 20, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Ken in MD

    Soaring approval rating to 37%. They must be so proud.

    May 20, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. 2014 -- The Return of the TEA Party

    CNN Poll: Tea party gets boost from IRS controversy
    -----–

    If you thought 2010 was a shellacing Democrats, wait until we show up in 2014. Kiss the Senate good bye and the House, well forget those pipe dreams of Speaker Pelosi. She might as well crawl back into the San Francisco hole where she came from.

    May 20, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. Dave

    I hate the tea party.Are people really this stupid?

    May 20, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. Walt Brown

    Obama is more incompetent than Jimmy Carter and definity more dishonest than Richard Nixon. This president has 0% apporval with my friends and neighbors. I actually voted for Clinton but would never vote for MONICA'S boyfriend's wife.

    May 20, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. ghostriter

    They have a ways to go just to achieve likability. I guess shelving the immigration talks helps out.

    May 20, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    @Sniffit - I hope that you are correct and wrong. If you are correct, then there will be more crazy people running for office. That makes it harder to get things done in Congress if they win. If you are wrong, it would show that they are losing favor of the people which shouldn't have given them any support in the first place.

    May 20, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  15. Pat

    The Tea Party will put the IRS scandal to very good use. "You tread on me. Now you'll pay for it'.

    May 20, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. WRONG Republican

    boost now – COMPLETELY FLAT IN 2014 WHEN IT WILL COUNT.

    NO "R' 2014!

    VAMANOS LATINOS! Let's pay these RepublicANT'S BACK IN SPADES.

    May 20, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. scootfl78

    That's a bunch of bogus polling. Its an anti-tax, anti-American group and just because the IRS was doing its job does not mean the group's poll numbering is going up. If that were the truth, then it would be a national alert for all that is decent in this country. I guess if you're intent is in polling moronic people, you're going to get moronic answers like "We love militias! We love the KKK! We love the Tea Party!"

    May 20, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. T Cook

    They get a boost from a controversy that they created? I think they are sinking more and more! LOSERS!!!

    May 20, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. StopTheMadness

    The tea party is not a cool thing at all. All they do is whine and cry and whine and cry. Funny how they didn't bother to mention not one POLITICAL party based group got denied their 501(C) status but a democrat group did. I love these so called scandals it totally restores my faith in the fact that most Americans are idiots.

    May 20, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  20. Pete

    Don't these tea party idiots realize that if they keep smacking the bee hive they're gonna get stung!!IRS doesn't has to kiss any groups butt especially ones with names like tea or party because with those all you see obviously is trouble or tell me when not to think so!!These extremist political groups aren't benefitting any community with social welfare programs and this is just another way of hiding supposid donors and their connections to corporations ,foriegn,not or people of interest that the IRS would like as well as the DOJ to have a talk with !!Don't these groups think that if approved they wouldn't be tracted or audited every year just because of the problems they created the IRS now would suddenly go away,I think not and they're delushional if they think different..Remember a 501(c)(4) is a tax exempt status given to groups that engage in social welfare programs that benefit a community and you tell me since the tea partys creation what community has benefitted from anything the tea party had to offer..Please chime in because the only thing that is benefitted by this is their gatherings in keeping the nutjobs in large organized groups .

    May 20, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. Grumpster

    Phoney baloney controversy drummed up the the Teabag PR machine. A little bit of fact, a lot of lies and made up stories, and people who are just plain gullible...who gobble up all the crap that is fed them....they are bent on wrecking the country rather than seeing anybody else get ahead. Bent on keeping feebleminded ideas in the mainstream, bent on just doing everything possible to have the country go back to the 1950's in combination with the 1800's.

    May 20, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. PJ

    Can anybody tell me exactly what "social welfare" services the Tea Party offers? ....or the NRA?

    May 20, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. jonnyg

    Politics aside...the country loses when it's President lies and covers the truth and acts like a dictator

    May 20, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. Dan of NY

    Re: 2014 The Return of the Tea Party. What are you smoking?

    May 20, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. Thomas

    People posting here working for a 501(c)(4) political organizations. You need to let that be known under penalty of law !

    Under false propaganda law , this is an FCC related news agency .
    Federal law specifically mandates that any advertisement appearing in the news ...that would not be true for the rank and file members who help to disseminate the propaganda. ... The term propaganda may also refer to false information

    501(c)(4) nonprofits can only advertise under there own domain name.

    STOP THE MONEY LAUNDERING OF NON PROFITS FOR PROFIT.

    Ask Jack Abramoff.

    Email the IRS and your congressmen !

    May 20, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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