April 14th, 2010
08:18 AM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: 1 in 10 say they're Tea Party activists

Ten percent of Americans say they have actively supported the Tea Party movement.

Ten percent of Americans say they have actively supported the Tea Party movement.

Washington (CNN) - Ten percent of Americans say they have actively supported the Tea Party movement, and those Tea Party activists are older, better educated and more religious than the general public, according to a new national poll.

O the Tea Party activists questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday morning, seven of ten call themselves conservatives. Nearly eight in ten would vote for a Republican candidate for Congress if the midterm elections were held today. Six in ten activists are male.

But the Tea Party movement, now in its 14th month, is not well-known to nearly half the country. Forty five percent of all Americans say they do not know enough about the Tea Party to say whether they support it or oppose it. Those who are familiar with the movement are divided right down the middle - 27 percent support the Tea Party movement, and 27 percent oppose it.

Full results (pdf)

One out of every ten people says they have donated money, attended a rally, or taken some other active step to support the Tea Party movement.

The poll indicates that 60 percent of this core group of Tea Party activists are male, six in ten are over the age of 50, two-thirds attended college, and half say they attend church services weekly or almost every week. By comparison, 48 percent of all Americans are male, 45 percent are age 50 or older, 54 percent attended college, and four in ten go to church every week or nearly every week.

Tea Party activists, known for their vocal opposition to government spending and taxes, are set to hold rallies in the nation's capital and across the country on Thursday – the day federal tax returns are due.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll was conducted April 9-11, with 1,008 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN poll • Tea Party movement
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Too small a survey! There weren't enough people talked to about this. Are you trying to get me to believe that there are 3 million tea party people out there? That is a hard one to swallow.

    April 14, 2010 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  2. Brad

    I can buy those numbers. 1 in 10 are ignorant with a very narrow view of the problems facing America. Very believable figures.

    April 14, 2010 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  3. Luke Brown

    The Tea Party movement is a fabrication of a very slick GOP PR firm and an extraordinarily slack news team at CNN.

    About 30 percent of Americans are against everything, anytime you ask them. About half of them are completely misinformed or not informed at all. They have always been out there. The fact that a PR firm calls them the "Tea Party" doesn't change the political equation.

    I saw a Tea Party rally where one of them had a protest sign that said it all: "Stop Wasteful Educasion Spending."

    April 14, 2010 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  4. Romas

    Just the fact that the supporters are more religious gives away the fact that the Tea Party movement is not something new but another attempt by the religious right to impose their viewpoint on everyone else in the country. Have they presented anything new? All I see is an anti Obama movement, a very hateful one at that.

    April 14, 2010 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  5. Mike

    Dear CNN,

    It's no wonder that the movement is "not well-known to nearly half the country." You, and the rest of the MSM have ignored them for the past year. Furthermore, you actually minimized and attempted to disparage them. It is only now that you have realized that you have no choice but to cover them. Shame on you and your corrupt journalism. You cannot be trusted. This situation reminds me of how you were one year late covering the Jeremiah Wright controversy... and only when it was too late for Americans to learn this in time for the primaries and general election.

    April 14, 2010 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  6. David

    How is 4% now considered "one in ten"?

    April 14, 2010 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  7. CEE

    Tea Party members are people who supported Bush spending, but oppose Obama spendingm what's their real agenda?

    April 14, 2010 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  8. Josh

    CNN where are you polling and who are you polling? You people seem to be fixated on these Idiots. Please give us a break on these tea party people. I know that you are fighting for ratings and you think that by keeping the negative tea party people on the front page you will keep your ratings up. I will go to another source to get some two way news, not just the palins and the tea party idiots. Thank you and good bye.

    April 14, 2010 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  9. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    Wow, that means 1 in ten are chromosomaly deficient in this country.

    April 14, 2010 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  10. Penny

    I LOVE the sign!! Pointing out that this is America, followed by the demand that they can dictate what we, as Americans, choose to ignore or not..................hilarious!!

    April 14, 2010 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  11. billy

    They aren't ignoring you. You voted and you lost. This is majority rule, not the fringe 10 percenters rule.

    April 14, 2010 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  12. Rob

    As a well-educated, older American, who is spiritual, I'm proud to say I am not part of the 1 in 10 in this particular grouping.

    April 14, 2010 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  13. dragon8me

    More people are for ending prohibitionn than are for the extreem right agenda. They will always be in the minority because intelligent Americans don't like rascism and are for progress not regression.

    April 14, 2010 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  14. Terry From West Texas

    One in ten Americans is a sucker. The Republican Party is playing the Tea Party hayseeds like harmonicas. Republican operatives, I speculate, can be found at all levels of the movement. Their goal is to provide street theater for the media to cover and to enhance their fabricated story of the socialist takeover of America.

    In the end, all of the Tea Party suckers will have one choice: vote for a Republican. The Republican they vote for will promote the traditional and hallowed values of Republicanism: more income for the wealthy class, fewer regulations on global corporations, lower salaries, fewer benefits, more expensive (yet lower quality) education for our kids, and more trillions in deficit spending.

    April 14, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  15. johnnyhouse

    That means that one in ten can't count or think. Old Democrat trick to divide the vote which favors them..We got one two many parties now.

    April 14, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  16. KMP

    ...and I am sure CNN and other media outlets will make sure more people oppose the Tea Party.

    April 14, 2010 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  17. John

    So let me get this straight, 1 out of 10 is a tea party activist, and 7 out of 10 oppose Obama and Obamacare, so there is more average americans opposed to this administration than tea partiers, uh oh dems you better start applying for unemployment benefits starting in november.

    April 14, 2010 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  18. Mike

    These Tea Party activists crack me up. They claim they are not just republicans and that they are comprised of democrats, independants and libertarians. Then I read where they have a list of republicans who are not, in their view, conservative enough to be republicans. What do democtrats, independants and libertarians care about that? The fact is that they don't and the fact is that the Tea Party is nothing more than the uber-conservatives taking control of a party that will fail if they succeed. Their spokesperson is Sarah Palin who finished a distant 3rd among republicans. These people will never accept the fact that the majority of people in this country are moderates, not hard core conservatives or liberals. They claim to want to return to Reagan's policies. Funny, but Reagan was a modertae who worked with democrats to get things accomplished. These people want notyhing to do with democrats. Let's face it, the Tea Party is nothing more than noecons in sheeps clothing.

    April 14, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  19. Joseph

    The Tea Party movement was started by " FreedomWorks". and Richard Armey. The Tea Party movement is guilty of violating the Sedition laws of the United States of America. After watching the movie "Judgement at Nuremberg", and reading up on that era in history, I am convinced that the Tea Party movement is operating much the same as Hitler and the Third Reich did in Germany in the early and mid thirties. (1933-1939). We already know that ( Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, Hannity ) are the negative propaganda specialists ( lies, hatred, rewriting history, the vilification of races and creeds.) of this era. Listen to what the character Burt Lancaster portrays in " Judgement at Nuremberg" states at the end of his trial. This is a true portrayal of a real person in history. This same kind of thinking and hate is being stirred up here in this once great nation (The UNITED States of America .) Think for yourselves. Read history. Do NOT let the hate-mongers lead us into destruction. Stop the Hate.

    April 14, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  20. newdem4

    bot all tea partiers are crazy people yelling w/ signs alot of them are pissed about the tax system which regardless of whichever side your on every1 can admit that our tax system is.. stupid.. but i find it funny that regardless of what your "protesting" the main function of the tea party was not to protest BIG GOV but was to lobby for a "fair tax" or something to that end.. At the end of the day not all tea partiers vote republican most do because the GOP claims to have the magic "tax cut" button..

    April 14, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  21. Felonious Monk

    If Palin is part of it, I oppose it.
    If Bachman is part of it, I oppose it.

    Come on people, don't be lead around like a dog on a leash. Listen to what these "folks" are actually saying, don't just hear the words they are using!
    If the teaparty is so well educated, why don't they use that education and listen to these people.

    Who in their right mind can actually say and believe Palin is qualified for anything?
    Bachman was elected, who in their right mind can actally say and believe Bachman is qualified for anything?

    This is a sad day in America when people like these are listened to!

    April 14, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  22. Kevin

    These people don't stand for anything. They cry about taxes and then hold big rallies that use up tax payer money for extra police officers. Half of them are probably on Social Security or Medicare and I bet a bunch of them are working for the state or local goverment. The last administration had more out of control spending than Obama and they were no where to be found. I'm not buying their platform at all.

    April 14, 2010 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  23. Keven

    That matches the 1 in 10 Americans have some sort of mental illness statistic....

    April 14, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  24. Mr. Moderate

    Yep, a real cross section of America.

    I wish the question asked if they GRADUATED college. Attending is one thing, but graduating is another.....

    April 14, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  25. Jacq

    You better check the Florida special election the Dems just put a Whipping on the Repubs,I think its a sign people are not feeding into fear they're following things very closely,and the worlds going to end theories are not working for the repubs

    April 14, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
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