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. Liberal4Obama

    This is not a surprise, republicans are moving fast to the right, even John McCain sounds like Rush Limbaugh this days, but it will never be enough for them and it will cost them seats.

    March 24, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. Aaron Seattle

    Yes Tea Partiers, you want your own political party don't you! Yes you do. Go, back your own candidates and end the 2 party system once and for all.

    It, is, your, Destiny.

    Search your feelings....You know this to be true.

    March 24, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    The ink is not dry on the new health care law and the American people support the new health care bill 49 to 40 against according to the USA Today/Gallup poll. You know, one those things you Reds used to say America did not ‘want this rammed down our throats“ as your republiklan House Reps were tea bagging one another on the balcony on Sunday. And that is just after one day! It will only go up as more Americans become familiar with the benefits.

    Any now you tea bagging cons in the Senate want to vote FOR leaving in the “Cornhusker” and “Louisiana Purchase” by voting AGAINST the “fix it” bill?

    That MAY resonate with the racist base, as you continue to try and assure that President Obama “fails” and try to take back “our country“ form the black guy in the White House, but call me silly, but I have difficult time thinking every American parent is going to vote for Greedy Old People that wants to roll coverage from 26 BACK to 18 or 19 for each of their children. I can also see where all those with pre-existing conditions that now qualify for the “high risk” pool such as Cancer survivors AND all of his/her family members rushing to the polls to vote you “big business” supporters with you “tort” reform fix and extending care to 3 million and sentence their loved ones to a true “death panel“.

    The rest of American outside that “revival tent” that preaches racism and “birther” sermons, will not care if President Obama is green or truly prove “Men are from Mars” as long as the change will help their children to a more healthy future.

    So, I agree that you need to keep fighting “socialism” and “guvmint takeover” with every breath you rednecks breathe and keep chuggin‘ on the backyard ‘shine.

    Just be aware the rest of America will NOT be drinking the redneck “kool-aid”

    However, as I THINK America will see it as that “empty suit community organizer” was really on the side of the American working class and once it sinks that you cons were trying to “con” the American people by your bold face lies about what was really in the bill and the fact that President Obama included more than 200 Red amendments in this new law, there will be a “Waterloo” and a “failure”, but my crystal ball does not show that to be President Obama or the Dems in Congress.

    So, continue to say you will vote against the recon package and FOR keeping the sweetheart deals in the Senate bill that is now the LAW OF THE LAND.

    President Obama painted the entire party of NO into a corner yesterday with one stroke of his pen, so now hand him another paint roller to slap you across the face with!

    Certainly works for me AND the American people.

    March 24, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. Shawn Williams

    And I ask, wheres the bad news? Let the teanutters run candidates. It means we get real leaders instead of ones that run on fear and hate and turn a blind eye to our real problems so they can start wars and bankrupt our country by giving all the money to the rich...

    March 24, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. rfk

    And any day now the Tea Party will have its own internal split between the fiscal conservatives and those who just cannot accept the fact that an intellectual has been elected president (Birthers, Deathers, 'Keep the Gov't out of Medicare'... et. al.).

    At some point we all need to abandon parties and ideologies and start voting for candidates who know how to make decisions that are beneficial to the middle class, get the social issues out of politics and focus on having a population of educated, healthy and employable people.

    March 24, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. Marie MD

    Mainly white and repugs. Well, doh! The KKK finally able to gather and spew forth hate without the white sheets.

    March 24, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. sameolebluedog

    The Republicans' lost year in Congress.....

    Did they do anything....? NO

    Did they try and help shape the bill...? NO

    Did they stand up to the tea party...? NO

    Are the Democrats and Tea Party going to benefit....? YES

    March 24, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Northern Voter

    It was just a matter of time:

    Hate and fearmongering will always be seen for what it is and rational people, regardless of politics will not accept this.

    Now the very right wing members of the GOP and T-Baggers will turn on each other and deserve each other.

    It was Waterloo and they lost! Now they will destroy each other.

    March 24, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. Nurse Lisa

    yippee the tea partiers wasted votes will allow Dems to stay in power.

    March 24, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. GJ

    I'm shocked. They are just angry white Republican sore losers. Always have been.

    March 24, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Mary

    I am more afraid of the Tea Party movement than I am of our government. The moderates need to speak up because the "crazies" are getting all of the publicity and they are not speaking for the majority!

    March 24, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. rdepontb

    Ha ha ha ha ha-OMG, we really should have seen this coming!

    What's Rush going to use his show to push now? It was clear for a while that if "his" people actually won, he'd have nothing to rail on about. He needs to keep the ditto-heads hepped up, or he's finished-he might have to retire to some private, only-the-rich-know-about-it island country and live out his days on the golf course. That would be nice-maybe he should leave while he can?

    BTW, Costa Rica, while a wonderful place, might not be the most hospitable home for Rush and cronies, no?

    March 24, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. haren

    Let us get rid of police dept.
    we will have this gun carrying tea party guys to protect us.
    Actually we don't need goverment to take care of anything
    no police,post,IRS,transport dept.air and land, no fed,
    and also no congressman or senator.
    We can always rely on this TEA PARTY guys and their leader Sarah Pailin for all our need.

    March 24, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. Randy

    But Mr. Brown: ...if the Republicans were to run its own candidates for office, any votes its candidate received would to a very great extent be coming from the Tea Party column. Maybe the Republicans should withdraw!

    March 24, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. The Other Michael in Houston

    By the way, is Rush Limbaugh broadcasting from another country? I thought he promised to leave if the Healthcare Bill was passed?

    March 24, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. Manner

    The Republican Party should take the high road and just do what other political parties do: steal the ideas of the oppositon and make them their own. I would advise the GOP to develop comprehensive, clear, and detailed alternatives to policies they do not like from the Democrats. If it's all "we don't like" with no tangible alternatives- then you have emotional politcs and then you also have Sarah Palin running-both titanic mistakes. Also if you are going to come up with an alternative, for goodness sakes, do not have the writers or the proponent of the alternative policy in the "back pocket" of the drug and medical insurance lobby.

    Be credible in leadership, policy, and alternatives. America wants honesty.

    March 24, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. Mike D

    The GOP might want to consider backing the peoples choice candidate instead of theirs if they want to have a chance in November. It doesn't matter much to me anyway, no incumbent is getting my vote in either party. I don't really care who they are as long as they talk to each other and have principles/values that represent the people. They also have to have will so they aren't strong-armed by Obama's thugs. Obama needs to find out quickly that the presidency isn't a dictatorship.

    March 24, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |

    Can I sue the Florida AG for missappropriation of our tax dollars? Waisting tax money to fight an unwinnable battle to deny me and my family access to Affordable Health Insurance seems like a pretty disgusting use of our tax dollars.

    The use of these tax dollar to sue the Federal Government will cause the lay-off of hundreds of teachers, police, and fireman here in the State of Florida.

    The GOP are full of non-human bottom feeding trolls.

    We should use their own words against them and HUNT THEM DOWN LIKE MOOSE......but alas, VIOLENCE IS THE GOP WAY

    March 24, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. Emma

    Not an integrated group, aye?

    March 24, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. Tim

    We don't need the Republican party, the Republican party needs us. And if they don't toe the line, we will either support our own candidate or an independent!!! We are nobodies rubber stamp and our support will have to be earned!!!

    March 24, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. JA/TN

    Tea Party, is code for racist, intolerant, the same people had their heads in the sand during the Bush era, it is patriotic and christian like to take care if the less fortunate, as for the GOP legislature, most come across as mean spirited

    March 24, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  22. Debbie Hanrahan

    TeaParty = Sam Adams

    Sam never became President. He was a firebrand not a leader.

    March 24, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |

    by the way......4700+ Men and Women have been killed in Iraq and Afghanastan.

    We can thank the DICK Cheeeeeeny for the death of ALL those BABIES.

    Remember all you PRO-Lifers.....yes, YOU are killing SOMEONES BABY.

    March 24, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  24. Gale

    Don't count on it!

    March 24, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  25. Here is a poll....

    Where is your reporting, CNN, on the new Harris Poll out yesterday showing that 54% of Republicans/Tea partiers believe the President is a Muslim, 24% believe he is the anti-christ, 43% don't believe he was born in the USA, etc. This poll is much more telling of who these people really are.....sick, sick, sick!! I know you are trying to pull independent viewers from Fox and Freaks, it shows in your daily broadcasting, but I think this poll is very relavent, especially since HCR has passed and the tea partiers, right wing radio nuts, and Fox and Freaks heads continue to explode!

    March 24, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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