March 24th, 2010
01:22 PM ET
12 years ago

Tea Party candidates could play spoiler role, says poll

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Tea Party movement voters could give a boost to Democrats in November."]Washington (CNN) – Democrats will get a boost if the Tea Party movement fields its own candidates in this year's Congressional elections, according to a new national poll.

A Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday morning also indicates that the 13 percent of American voters who say they are part of the Tea Party movement tend to be mainly white and Republican.

According to the poll, Americans say they'll vote for a Republican over a Democrat in the November elections by a 44 to 39 percent margin.

But the addition of a Tea Party candidate to the ballot changes the dynamic: The Republican candidate drops dramatically to 25 percent and the Democrat only slightly to 36 percent, while 15 percent would back the Tea Party candidate.

"The Tea Party could be a Republican dream - or a GOP nightmare. Members could be a boon to the GOP if they are energized to support Republican candidates," says Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "But if the Tea Party were to run its own candidates for office, any votes its candidate received would to a very great extent be coming from the GOP column."

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted last month also indicated that Tea Party activists would vote overwhelmingly Republican in a two-party race for Congress, and if they ran their own candidates it would hurt the Republican Party.

"Virtually every vote the Tea Party candidate gets in a hypothetical three-way race would be siphoned from the GOP candidate, potentially allowing the Democrats to win in districts that they might have otherwise lost," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "While the concept of an independent third party is extremely popular, most Americans, including most Tea Party supporters, don't favor a third party that would result in a winner who disagrees with them on most major issues."

According to the Quinnipiac University poll, nearly three-quarters of the voters who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement say they are Republicans or Independents who lean Republican, and just 16 percent say they are Democrats or Independents who lean Democratic. More than 75 percent who say they are part of the Tea Party movement say they voted for John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, and 15 percent say they voted for Barack Obama. Nearly 9 in 10 are white.

Nearly half of those questioned say they don't know enough about the Tea Party movement to form an opinion, with 28 percent saying they have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party and 23 percent holding a negative opinion.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted March 16-21, with 1,907 registered voters nationwide questioned by telephone, including 253 respondents who say they are part of the Tea Party movement. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points and plus or minus 6.2 percentage points for questions only of Tea Party movement members.

Filed under: Polls • Popular Posts • Tea Party movement
soundoff (242 Responses)
  1. Charlie in Maine

    The GOP has fueled this movement by fanning the flames of mistrust and hatred. The Tea Party movement has been trained by it's GOP masters and big business supporters to attack anything that moves. I am afraid, like Dr, Frankenstein they have created a monster they are un-able to control. I hope it comes back to bite them.

    March 24, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. Preston kathy

    Preston kathy sounds like the tea party is a joke they seem to be all rupukelicans they must have a hugh buget to have sara palin take how come no dems

    March 24, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Ancient Texan

    Tea party members just may be smarter than the Democrats and remember that a third party candidate (Ross Perot) was the reason we were saddled with Bill Clinton twice. They will probably join forces with the GOP, Conservatives, Independents, Evangelicals, and the midstream Americans who are totally fed up, to vote for anybody but OBAMA and his Socialist Progressive agenda.

    March 24, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. sharon

    t.P.=gop nightmare.

    March 24, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Bill NY

    Please Tea Party, field your own candidates in droves.

    March 24, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    The Tea Party is mostly white republicans. Gosh, that's a shock, especially considering they were all yelling the n word at the black congressmen in recent protests.

    March 24, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Once upon a horse

    I guess if you can get away with hurling sexual and racial slurs and spitting on people you don't agree with, then you can cause some ripple effects in the election process as well. The TRUE colors of a lot of these tea baggers is really coming to face now.

    March 24, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. HERB

    Democrat will win come November; Tea party members are not independent. Most independent are not to the far right or left. They are not happy with the political climate, and economy, but none of them fault Obama for the Countries current situation .Most independent tired how business is being conducted in Washington. Being angry with the process does not mean you hate the policy, the process of blocking every legislation without bring any idea makes every body frustrated. America is watching, and America will speak come November. Most people posting to be independent are not independent if one was to define independent you will see that most of them are middle class of all race and sex, and have some years of college. An independent will not listen to Sera Pauline or other Tea party speaker who have spoken in past , most of their core speaker have been elite from the Republican Party none from the Democratic party or an unknown figure . If Republicans were smart, they will begin to work with democrat to make legislation pass. It will not help them with the White House in 2012, but will boost their chances in the hose and senate.
    Come November Democrat will be surprise every body
    An any person running against Obama in 2012 will loss because he will be reelected in Jesus name .The Man of God has spoken.

    More seats will be Gain in the senate by democrat looking at the political climate and a few seat will be lost in the house of representative .Overall victory for Democrats.

    March 24, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. midwest liberal

    Please, please, PLEASE, tea baggers, run lots of candidates!

    March 24, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. C G


    March 24, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  11. I am the Great and Sociopathic Wizard of Rush and I Say . . .

    Senator Demint (R-SC) "If we defeat Obamacare, this will break him, it will be his Waterloo."
    I guess that makes President Obama the Duke of Wellington.

    March 24, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. old_tom

    the teabaggers are even too narrow-minded for the republican party! how funny is that? middle-age/old white people that are supposedly god-fearing christians but can't see past their own fear and greed and racism to act in a 'christian' way and help their fellow man. and by fellow man i mean those that don't go to your church or look like you or live in your neighborhood. they are all afraid that their precious wealth will be taken from them and then they'd be like the folks they can't stand. and believe me – this all goes back to racism. they can't abide that a non-white holds the highest office in the land. what has this country come to? i hope the answer is progress, finally.

    March 24, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. Lora B.

    Right now, people just don't give a darn about taxes and their tea party agenda. There are much more pressing things to worry about, like finding a job, paying their mortgage, and getting health care for their family. If the GOP thinks it can run on the tea party slogan of "taxed enough already" in the November election, well, good luck with that.

    March 24, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  14. BB

    More Tea Party candidates please!!!!!

    March 24, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  15. Limbaugh is a liberal

    The GOP need not worry. The Tea Party are organized by Foxnews and hence they too are just the same republican puppets. They won't spoil the election. They won't run serious candidates, and they will all vote republican anyway. Sure, they say they're 'angry' with republicans as well, but at the end of the day they still vote republican, like the hypocrites we always knew they were.

    March 24, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  16. Windre

    There will be no tea party candidates... This is silly.

    March 24, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. Holding Up A Mirror

    TEA PARTY = the Republican Party's most radical, right-wing, homophobic, zenophobic members.

    March 24, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
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