CNN Poll: Tea party gets boost from IRS controversy
May 20th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
11 months 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. DoNotWorry

    The Tea Party is destroying the Republican Party. Good job.

    May 20, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Hey, if your a tax cheat like romney ,join the teaparty , most of the rest of them have . The irs should flag every one of these tax cheat slimeball groups , and rove and Nazi crossroads.

    May 20, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. Eric

    Odd. I haven't met anyone who actually knows what the Tea Party stands for to have a negative opinion of the Tea Party.

    Granted, I haven't met anyone in the MSM, but still...

    May 20, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. TomGI

    Why isn't the IRS working on revocation of the tax exempt status of the Cult of Scientology?

    May 20, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. jinx9to88

    So!! This is not news the only people that care are the few crazies.

    May 20, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "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..."

    It did happen under Dubya. He blatantly and publicly targeted the NAACP, unions and even a liberal church. Dems were outraged and the GOP blocked everything anyone tried to do about it. The MSM also swept it under the rug even though the evidence was even worse than what took place here. Are you under-informed or just lying by pretending these things didn't happen?

    May 20, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. jinx9to88

    What are the Teaurds gonna do take a few more GOP seats? They are GOP controlled districts anyway.

    May 20, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. Lisa P.

    Great! I guess this will make up for the total lack of "Tax Day" rallies this year. I figured that without the Koch money the Tea Party had deflated to the natural gang of loonie tunes - roughly enough for a poorly attended backyard barbecue. I guess I didn't count on Fox News' ability to reignite the crazy. Can't wait to see the backlash to Clown Show 2; nicely timed to run at the same time the economic effects of Clown Show 1 are becoming clear even to those most deeply in denial. Plus Obamacare is finally going to kick in, which means real success stories instead of phony hand-wringing and worry-mongering. 2014 is going to be a great year for Democrats!

    May 20, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Sniffit, your name ,your tone and your comments all indicate somebody who needs to be helped out in life."

    How cute. If you saw my paychecks you'd think I was supposed to be a Republican. Moron. Don't resort to assuming Mittens' "47%" screed was even remotely accurate. You'll look like a fool every time.

    May 20, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  10. HopingForABetterWorld

    Don't respond to bigots and their name calling, distraction! As noted the Tea Party is a liberal conservative group, not %100 support by either party, infighting.
    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. If you are outraged over the IRS, the AG "Freedom of Speech" among other cover-ups, than get mad and involved!

    May 20, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  11. Thomas

    @TomGI
    Why isn't the IRS working on revocation of the tax exempt status of the Cult of Scientology?

    ===

    Lawyers and money is why , the Non Profits make big money , they pay big money to keep that law in there favor .

    May 20, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. jinx9to88

    Politicians like to mix things up to get donations and morons like half the people on here fall for it. People like Michelle Bachmann comes out with al lie right out of this world like when Obama went to Asia and she said it cost 200 millions a day of taxpayers money. Which was a lie.

    May 20, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. Lisa P.

    Eric

    Odd. I haven't met anyone who actually knows what the Tea Party stands for to have a negative opinion of the Tea Party.

    Granted, I haven't met anyone in the MSM, but still...
    May 20, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    My dad used to say that everyone was going to die of cancer if they didn't die of something else first. Same basic logic. Maybe you're the one who isn't seeing the Tea Party clearly, what with those rose-colored glasses you seem to be wearing.

    May 20, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. megin

    I see a lot of ignorance and name calling but not one of you posters have given one reason the tea party is crazy. It always amazes me just how afraid of freedom people are...

    May 20, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. Joe

    Donkey Party

    You Teabaggers are a delusional bunch. Thanks for the comic relief though. By the way, "REAL Americans" don't agree with you whack jobs, real Americans aren't ignorant, illiterate right-wing racists.
    ____________________________

    I was waiting for it, if all else fails, call them racist!!! Just because they do not agree with you does not make them racist, and I am NOT a fan of the tea party! YOU are NOT a REAL American that is for sure, a real American is tolerant of other people’s views and beliefs!!!

    May 20, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "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!!!"

    Markey's about to win his in MA. Sanford beat a Dem in the most conservative district in conservative red-state SC...it was hardly a surprise. What's your point? Win some, lose some. On the other hand, if you are referring to November 2010 as a "special election," then you have some learnin' to do. It's also mind-boggling that you deliberately gloss over November 2012..in which Obama won and Dems increased their hold on the Senate slightly...and still pretend that there's some giant wave of angry Teatrolls ready to sweep out all the Dems/liberals in government. Your echo chamber apparently doesn't even have windows.

    May 20, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. Malory Archer

    Me, that "special election" you're referring to, is that the one in South Carolina where the lying, cheating adulterer of a career politician former governor of a very red state managed to win against the fiscally responsible job creating businedss owner with a "D" after her last name? Yeah, no surprise there and hardly a harbinger of things to come.

    May 20, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. ezduzit757

    I think they will loose this bump in their favorability rating when people begin to realize that the REAL scandal is that all of these POLITICAL tea-party groups were applying for tax exempt status that is supposed to be reserved NON-political, social welfare groups.

    May 20, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. jinx9to88

    Alot of misinformed people on here. I just read a post saying the GOP is gonna take back the house in 2014, doesnt the GOP have the majority in the house now?

    May 20, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. Amy

    Incredible when Americans are called wackos because they believe in foundation of America....The tea party is made up of democrats and republicans that are tired of two parties

    May 20, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. beetle1a

    The Tea Party should be scrutinized more severly than the IRS did. They're just an extension of rabic Republicans and Libertarians underwritten by the Koch Bros. trying to get tax exempt status for their political contributors.

    May 20, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  22. anchorite

    The IRS has been in the pockets of the moneyed and wealthy to not tax clearly political organizations for a long time, illegally. Now that Citizens United has been decided in blatant contravention of common sense and human decency, it's illegal for them to tax PAC's and political orgs using churches as fronts. And they say the IRS is in the wrong? I suppose Al Capone should just have rewritten the law so that extortion and racketeering was legal and then Elliot Ness would have been fired by the president and the FBI demonized.

    May 20, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  23. Nodack

    Yeah! Nobody brings down Republican ratings as much as the Tea Party.

    Who would have guessed the tea party would try to claim tax-exempt status even though no party can claim tax-exempt status if they are involved in any political activities. Only the Republican party can turn tax evasion and fraud into a scandal for the other side.

    May 20, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. Topher

    StopTheMadness

    The Tea party never got tread on. Maybe you nit wits should actually read the articles about the IRS before you act like you know what you are talking about. I love how silly you ignorant people are.

    TEA PARTY Home of the eternally stupid land of the ignorant. WOOT!

    That way when all the idgits die off from starvation and such the rest of us can go on living a normal life. I knew you guys were mentally deficient, but man I love some of the comments here.
    ________________________________

    ummmm I think you are the one smoking something....you need to take your own advise buddy!!! YOUR ignorance and blind following of a party is what is a JOKE, the tea party was singled out for extra scrutiny, the IRS EVEN ADMITTED IT!!!! YOU are what is wrong with America today!

    May 20, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. Lisa P.

    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
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    So I take it you are a firm supporter of the ACLU? A card-carrying member, perhaps? Because no group does more to promote the Bill of Rights and individual freedom. Certainly not an astroturf political tantrum funded by billionaires who don't see why *they* should be limited by things that might be necessary for the rest of us, like fair elections, good government, public education, a clean and safe environment, and justice for all in the courts.

    May 20, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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