April 21st, 2010
06:12 PM ET
12 years ago

Steele: Tea Party makes up 'a third or more' of voters

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/21/art.getty.steele.rnc.logo.jpg caption="RNC Chair Michael Steele said Tuesday that Tea Party activists make up 'a third or more' of the voting age population."]Washington (CNN) - In a speech to college students on Tuesday in Chicago, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said that Tea Party activists make up "a third or more" of the voting age population.

"I have advised our state chairs: Don't turn your nose up, or turn away those who are active in the Tea Party movement. Embrace them. Welcome them. Talk to them," Steele told a group of DePaul University students, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Those activists have now become a very large part of our voting bloc," he continued. "They represent a third or more of the voting age population, so they're going to have a profound impact on elections and in some cases in the primaries this November and this spring. Both parties had better pay attention."

Recent polling, however, suggests that the Tea Party movement is not as large as Steele claims.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research poll released last week, roughly 10 percent of Americans say they have actively supported the Tea Party movement, either by donating money, attending a rally or taking some other active step. Another 17 percent of Americans say they generally support the movement, but have not directly participated in it.

The RNC chairman also kept to his official posture of not endorsing a candidate in the Florida Republican Senate primary, even as other Republicans begin to coalesce around former state House Speaker Marco Rubio. Some Republicans are abandoning Rubio's rival, Gov. Charlie Crist, amid rumors that he may run as an independent.

"In Florida, Marco Rubio has captured the imagination of the Tea Party there to the detriment of the governor, Gov. Crist, but from my perspective, Marco Rubio if he wins is a good candidate to run for the U.S. Senate," Steele told the students, according to the paper. "Should Gov. Crist win, he's a good candidate to run for the U.S. Senate. It's a win-win."

Filed under: Michael Steele • RNC • Tea Party movement
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Dean

    Michael Steele must have flunked math class

    April 21, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. Captain Crunch

    I guess that the poll that said "The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45: can just be almost doubled by the RNC Chair to try and make a very weak point!

    April 21, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  3. CBR

    Mr. Steele, your party already turns its back on moderate Republicans who are already in Congress. I guess the TA party members that you recruit will take the places of these moderate who have no place in the new Republican Party.

    April 21, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  4. jackson

    ONE THIRD????

    Wow, talk about "fuzzy math".

    April 21, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. Susan in Arkansas

    Wonder where he gets his numbers? I've read polls that indicate about 18% of folks identify with the TPs. But, leave it to the Republicans...if they want it to sound good...they make it up! Oh, and the polls also show that most of the TPs are retired, white, and financially well-off. And, they like Medicare and Social Security, too. Again, sounds like members of the Republican party to me...mainly the angry ones.

    April 21, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. Steve

    Man...they just cant stop making up facts, and if the RNC thinks the TP (that would be Tea Party, lol) likes them any more than they like the Democrats, they have another think coming.

    April 21, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. Dave

    Uhhh...You left a part out. The tea party is a third of Republican voters, not a third of ALL voters.

    April 21, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  8. Jonathan

    As far back as 2004, the US voting age population was just shy of two hundred million people. Does Steele really expect people to believe that there are 66 million plus Tea Party Activists? I would have trouble believing more than 66,000.

    April 21, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  9. zazzle.com/TheProgram


    the republican way: just keep saying it until people believe it.

    April 21, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  10. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    The Gallup Poll of March 26-28 found this.......

    28% of Americans approve of the TP

    26% of Americans disapprove

    38% of Americans say they neither approve nor disapprove

    And 8% do not have an opinion

    With a 28% approval...... the TP is hardly a national movement!

    April 21, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    OK, so let's get this straight. People who report as registered as a Reppublican constitute something like 20% of the population. Something like 80% of Teahadists are registered Republicans, BUT not all Republicans are Teatards. In other words, there is no mathematical way to turn Mushmouth's claim into the truth NOR any way to call it anything other than a LIE.

    The MATH Mushmouth, the MATH. When you fake it, you can be proven without a scintilla of doubt to be a liar. I know you guys hate science, but MATH too? I mean, fine...you wanna deny evolution and try to prove it doesn't exist by acting the way you do, that's all well and good...BUT YOU CAN'T DENY THAT 2 + 2 = 4...and no amount of saying "nuh uh" or "it equals 5" makes it so, even if the majority of retards in America decide to believe you.

    April 21, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  12. Steve

    Steele told the students, according to the paper. "Should Gov. Crist win, he's a good candidate to run for the U.S. Senate. It's a win-win."

    Anyone who says this (regarding Crist) is a complete moron and has no ones interest in mind other than party and self. Crist is a train wreck.

    April 21, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  13. Livin' the good life

    OK, 50% = Democrat
    20% = Relics
    That leaves 30% rolling their eyes, watching FOX and missing out on voting November because they care for NEITHER party. The Democrats have the votes. I.E. November 2008. The Relics are going to be left behind because 30% of the people are stubborn and do NOT know what they want besides to play with the other kids toys...Beau Colby.

    April 21, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  14. Linell, former Republican, Winter Parka, FL

    you have to love these guys...proof positive that they have their own "facts" in their perfect little concept of reality.

    April 21, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  15. Robert

    I thought it was already established that the fringe right-wing religious phony conservatives alread made up a third of the GOP. which led to the party's demise in 2008. except now they are calling themselves the TEA party. good riddance and keep them out.

    April 21, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  16. Oregon calling

    I couldn't have put it better than the error message that I just received on the ticker.....

    ........"Sorry but you are looking for something that isn't there."

    hahahahahahaha 🙂

    Keep dreamin Steele, they may make up 1/3 of your party but not of our country!

    Peace 🙂

    April 21, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. Pragmatic

    The U.S. government now provides health care for 29% of Americans through Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans' health care and for native Americans (source: T.R. Reid: The Healing of America) and I don't know anybody with those benefits who would want those benefits to stop.

    So go for it- Republicans–stop benefits for 18 million Americans.

    Add in all those with seriously ill children who can now get insurance, a whole lot of graduates who can stay on their parents insurance, those who now can't be tossed aside by insurance companies when they become "too expensive" ... totals quite a few Americans + those 50% who think the President is on the right course.

    April 21, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. Proud DEM

    Keep telling yourself that Steele...keep following polls that are so meaningless...teabaggers will split the vote amongst your Rethuglicans come November, just wait and see.....the Dems will be just fine...they still will hold the majority!

    April 21, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  19. j

    If that's true then this country is in bigger trouble than I thought. I didn't realize this country had so many bigots and racists but they sure are coming out of the wood work.

    There's something wrong with a group that thinks gun ownership is the most important right an American can have.

    I've heard Tea Partiers are intellectuals, but I haven't seen any proof of that. Just the opposite in fact.

    This country is taking a turn in the wrong direction.

    April 21, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  20. Sonya Parker

    Well, if Sara Palin thinks that Americans are Christians, well since I'm not a Christian, nor my husband, nor our voting children, then I guess if she wants to run we can't vote for her because we're not Christian but another religion – so if we discount all the non-Christian, I do believe she would not have a chance in – well you know what.

    BTW – someone needs to educate her on our contituion – like many other things she seems to be wrong – don't get me wrong, I would love to see a female run, but Sara – you are not the right role model or a good choice for us.

    April 21, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  21. Rush Gingrich Palin VII

    That is true ol mouthy one...one third of the right wing nutjobs have joined together to take back a country that they ignored 8 yrs of Bush's war and spending spree......now they want to take what back....it is basically a bunch of frustrated GOP folks who have nothing better to do than go from town to town.

    I really like watching those elderly Tea Party folks complain about socialism while they would break your legs if you took away their Medicare and Social Security...talk about HYPOCRICY.....give me a break.

    I hope this movement continues to draw the GOP down to nothing..

    April 21, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  22. Jin

    Steele's numbers are latterday Reagenomics!! It will be interesting how many bagger heads explode when the GOP conspiracy gets blown out of Congress in November. The "trikle-down" will be their number of seats in congress. The American people are not ALL idiots!!

    April 21, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  23. Save 'em in the womb, so a "christian" holy war can send 'em to the tomb

    Mr. Steele, you may want to move the meth lab at the RNC further down the hall, it appears to be causing brain damage.

    April 21, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  24. Pat

    1/3 of voters belong to the Tea Pary???? What has Micahel Steel been smoking? I'd like to see the numbers to back that up. Considering that over half of American's voted for Obama, I find that hard to believe.

    April 21, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  25. Jeanne in KY

    Get a grip. These people do not make up even a tenth of the American voting public. And anyone that believes any different needs their head examined!

    April 21, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
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