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. Moderate

    Why do you think the GOP is courting them so hard? They have no ideas and can only relay on hate, yelling and miss information, more yelling, rudeness, spiting on congressional leaders, more yelling, hate again with yelling, oh and lets block anything from being passed at all bring the American Government to a hault because we want to govern again.

    The GOP put us in this mess and now they think they have gain some new education and can govern?

    Delusion is one thing, but the out right lies, rudeness, yelling and ignorance is intolerable.

    March 24, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. Sgt. USMC

    That's the only thing the Tea Party would be good for, to get a democrat elected. Go TP!!!

    March 24, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  3. Dan Coleman

    TEA Party members, I beg you to realize that you cannot win in an election apart from the republican party. Just remember the little Texan that ran against Bush I and put Clinton into the White House. If you want today's government to continue, just run candidates separate from the republican party. You best join up with the republicans or you will fade into the tapestry just like UNITED WE STAND, remember?

    March 24, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. Tribunus Celerum

    Everyone knows that the Tea Party is gonna vote for the GOP, as a matter of fact, to further prove this point, especially in in the Health Care signing. In 1952, White Southerners were accounted as much as by 80% of DEms, in other Dems, they identified themselves as Democrats. Forward 40+ years later, that number has drastically drop and cut by half, about 40%. So if anyone has a concept a problem, is definitely the Democrats. Not to mention a social identity but then again, in the age of the net, progressives and atheists make up of their party and I wonder why so many of them switched in that time span? Give me your best shot, "experts."

    The Tea Party is gonna vote GOP and more than likely will, stop rationalizing and being dissonance, your incompetence is more showing than your "Make or break Health Care month."

    March 24, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    More maneuvering, to dissuade voters from forming a third party to oppose both of the existing parties.

    The political machines will stop at nothing, to prevent giving the voters, a real choice.

    March 24, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  6. Willy Brown

    You progressives haven’t seen nothing yet. Conservatives don’t fall into the progressive trap of them baiting you to lash out at them. That’s all they have because they know we are on to them.

    March 24, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  7. Texas Doc

    Go Teabaggers! Teabaggers Untie!

    March 24, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. Linda

    Hmmm...Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps the crazy Tea Baggers are just what this country needs. Anything that syphons votes away from GOP candidates can't be all bad! Go Baggers!

    March 24, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  9. TCM

    The tea party will roll their conservative candidate into the republican party side; plan's already in the works. Dems are going to suffer huge losses due to their wreckless behaviors.

    March 24, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  10. FM

    This is quite interesting. I urge the Tea Party to stand tall on its own. The Party has good and different ideas.

    March 24, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. The Unsub

    The tea party is the Republicans "Frankenstein." They created a monster and they don't know how to get rid of it.

    March 24, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. JMikey54

    I think the Tea Party should run its candidates to show America how the people feel.

    March 24, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. Walter

    So, the brown-shirts may end up regretting the fact that they created the black-shirts.

    Who says that God has no sense of humor?

    March 24, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. buckwheat

    That is all the teaparty is all about.It is an organization to split votes. Only a dummy will fall for that .We have too many parties now. If you want more for more vote Democrat.There are plenty of Republicans left out there to pay the bills.

    March 24, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. Dano

    It sounds like your headline should read "GOP in trouble" not the Dems. Since virtually all teabaggers (snicker,snicker) are white and republican (big shock) and the CNN poll shows the repubs with only a slight lead (as of this poll today) any tea party defections will hurt them for sure.

    March 24, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. AXH

    Vote them all out!

    This socialist agenda of this Congress and White House is going to destroy this country!

    We cannot afford what the Demos are pushing!

    VOTE them out!

    March 24, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. MsDp

    hint, hint: the tea parties are the GOP!!! p.s. you can fool some of the people some of the times, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time!

    March 24, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  18. Len Arenas

    I am distressed to increasingly find the news business has "going wild" in focusing on drama as a way to increase ratings/sales. The conservative media machine is joined by the Republican Party in their willingness to "dance with the devil" to push their cause. The Tea Party (nor more than a lynching gang) represents a tiny segment yet given tremendous coverage. It is evident to the emotionally stable, that the Republicans are happy to enjoy the benefits of this barking dog, but at what expense? Where has morality gone? The collective media is increasingly polluting the airways with chaos. Modern Democracy depends on a media devoted to being a forum for constructive discourse. Another example is the unfair almost weekly ratings on the President; the continual question of effectiveness represents an unjustifiable passive-aggressive conviction of failure. The enemy is chaos and hate, the enemy is the profit-at-all-stakes mentality. America is in trouble, we need to pull together or else what will be left?

    March 24, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  19. Larry

    The Tea Party is a Laugh Out Loud Joke with racism at it's core

    They don't care about this country, they only care about themselves

    Typical GOP backed mouthpieces

    March 24, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  20. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    As a Democrat the tea baggers are exactly what the doctor ordered to cure the republiklans!

    March 24, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  21. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    This is a simple-enough problem to fix–if the neo-cons have enough sense to drop the "neo-" part and go back to being plain old Conservatives, the kind that actually believe in small government, actually believe in fiscal restrain, and actually believe in respect for the rights of individuals.

    The repudiation of the philosophies of classical conservatism are a legacy of the Bush decade and the Tea Parties are a direct result of that. If the neo-cons want to thump their bibles in private, fine, but making religion, and pretences to morality based on religion, the single characteristic with which the GOP is most associated is a profound mistake. Americans, on the whole, don't want politics mixed with religion.

    March 24, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  22. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Why does the Tea party and this new Coffee party all want to project the image of what we have had since 1971? Both of them talk about being for a return to the Constitution. Both claimed to be for small Government?
    What are they born again libertarians? Don’t be fooled again by the two major parties? They do not truly want liberty for the people.
    Libertarians are the closest thing to the centralist policies that this nation desperately needs right now.
    Google us sometime give the party platform a read through, you will see we are the 3rd largest party in the USA and getting very popular.

    March 24, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  23. Big John

    I don't know why these "tea baggers" hate Americans like they do.

    March 24, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. Cindy PA

    With the real unemployment number between 17 and 24%, we have the Democratic Party in Congress driving this nation into bankruptcy. The Democrats / liberals better be prepared for loses in 2010 and 2012, in 1994 historians say the Democrat loses was a slaughter; the 2010 and 2012 election cycle is going to be a massacre. No one is going to vote for these Democrats / liberals

    "First principles”, we the people should control Congress.
    We the people demand:
    Term limits on Congress.
    The people vote on Congressional pay raises.
    The president, Congress and every Federal employee is moved into Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the new health care if it’s not repealed, their current pension plans roll into the general fund.
    The president, any person in Congress or Federal employee that is indicted of a crime steps down or is suspended from employment.

    March 24, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. Shawn

    Ha Ha!

    Those Tea Party freaks are so dumb.

    March 24, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
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