May 5th, 2010
01:16 PM ET
12 years ago

Poll: Tea Party allies deny racism element, critics say otherwise

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/05/art.teaparty.jpg caption="In a recent poll, Tea Party supporters say the movement is not prejudiced against President Obama."]Washington (CNN) - The perception that Tea Party anger is fueled by racism has nagged the movement since it began. A fresh poll indicates that while Tea Party supporters say the movement is not prejudiced against President Obama, critics believe it is.

In an ABC News/Washington Post survey released Wednesday, 87-percent of Tea Party supporters said that racism does not play a part in the movement's opposition to the president's policies. A small number, one in 10, said that anger at having an African-American president is a reason to support the Tea Party movement.

While a vast majority of the movement's supporters questioned in the poll, deny that prejudice is at play – the survey suggests that the Tea Party may have a tough time convincing its critics.

According to the poll, 57-percent of Tea Party opponents believe that racism is fueling the movement. Meanwhile, 24-percent of Americans who have a neutral view of Tea Parties also feel that racism is a factor.

The poll also delves into a long-debated question: is racism still a major problem in America? Overall, 75-percent of people questioned believe it is, but that belief drops to 61 percent among conservative voters and 58 percent among Tea Party supporters.

The survey identifies 81-percent of Tea Party supporters as white, compared to roughly three-quarters of the general population.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted April 22-25 and questioned 1,001 adults by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.


Filed under: Tea Party movement
soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    If racism isn't fueling the Tea Party, where the heck were they during the Bush years? If you want to blame someone for wreckless spending, giving tax cuts to the 1% of America, look no further than Dubya.

    May 5, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  2. Capt. Snarky

    Interesting. Evidently the "violent" tag wasn't sticking too well, so the media has to resort to the old Progressive standby – Racism. "

    If you can't fight them on the issues, just call 'em racists......"

    May 5, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. Florida Joe

    Where was the Tea Party outrage when Bush & Co were spending the surplus and then running up the debt???? Seems like they showed up after a Black American was elected President...........These Tea Party folks are pathetic....................

    May 5, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. SocialismBad

    57-percent of Tea Party opponents believe that racism is fueling the movement.
    ====================================================

    Well of course the leftists label everybody a racist who disagrees with them! They have to obscure their DISASTROUS HANDLING OF THE ECONOMY AND COUNTRY!! They can't argue the FACTS of HIGH unemployment, STAGGERING DEBT and BORROWING, and the miserable faliure of the Obama Apology Tour.

    The Tea Party approach also threatens their endless government entitlement programs. They are deathly afraid that they will have to GET A JOB!!!

    May 5, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. GOP = the great white dinosaur

    Of course racism is at work with the tea baggers. If not, where were they when Bush was president? The things they say they are protesting were around when Bush was president, so why now? Because there is a black president.

    May 5, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This country has had 43 white presidents and never has there been a time we've seen racial slurs and pictures of protest as we've seen from the Tea Party directed at our 1 and only black president. There are times you can explain away racism, but not this time and it's pathetic. There's a non-racist way to protest anything but this ain't one of them.

    May 5, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. Hugo

    Yeah, we all know where all the racists are.....DC!
    Let's take a demographic breakdown of Federal and State employment practices.....

    May 5, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. Ron in California

    I always find the charge of racism interesting on two points. First ,is that is has become the charge of choice by those on the left. I doesn't matter what the issue is the left will cry racism. Second, I believe that those shouting racism the loudest are often times racist themselves. These folks can't stand any opostion or honest debate.
    I don't have to name them you know who they are .

    May 5, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. Hammerer

    Everyone opposed to Obama is racist.

    May 5, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. Wisconsinite

    "While a vast majority of the movement's supporters questioned in the poll"

    So? The vast majority of TPers question EVERYTHING they don't want to believe . . . . even facts that have been proven.

    May 5, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. Pkm

    Are there any blacks or spanish or jews in the tea party then you have sara palin talking hate trash

    May 5, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. Pkm

    Are there any blacks or spanish or jews in the tea party then you have sara palin talking hate trash

    May 5, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. Willy Brown

    Left wing spin because they hate the FACTS about Barry so they use the race card when they don't get their way.

    May 5, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. Ben

    The only racism I see comes form the Democrat party. They're the ones dividing us, not the Tea Party.

    May 5, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. Choice that matters

    Who is going to actually come out and admit that they are racist. That percentage is much higher I am sure

    May 5, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. doug

    There is nothing racist about African Americans in this country wanting the first black president.

    However it is all racism for white liberals to have choosen Obama soley for the reason that they can just label any and all opposition to them as racists. White libs are pretty sick.

    It is a shame how they have deluted true racism, but that's part of their plan also.

    Divide and conquer that's the Democrat way. Please let me know when the tea party is making a movie about shooting the president like the Democrats did with Bush, then we can talk.

    May 5, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. Wanda

    President Obam's race has nothing to do with the fact that he isn't a good Commander and Chief. Everyone seems to forget that he is not a black man his mother is white and his father is black. So unless I'm missing something here he is as much white as he is black. The problem is that he isn't looking out for the best interests of the American people. He has done everything in his powers since he took office to destroy family values and has stooped and bowed to other countries and told them how wrong the American people have been. This has nothing to do with the Tea Party. It has to do with the fact that our country has long been known for its power and gererousity. Now we've opened our doors to terroists and said come on in the harvest is ripe for the picking. Where is our security and the love for our country.????

    May 5, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. get real

    What a stupid poll. "Hi, I'm calling from ABC. We're doing a poll. Question 1: Are you a member of the tea party? Yes, OK, Questions 2: Do you consider yourself to be a racist?"

    May 5, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. DianeRPCFL

    Of course Tee-Pee-ers say they aren't racist. But these so-called fiscal-conservatives sure were silent during the 8 years Bush turned us into a debtor-nation to a marxist-socialist government – China, dragged us into a war based on lies, ran up huge deficits by giving tax-breaks to the uber-rich without corresponding cuts in spending, put a dough-nut hole in Medicare Drug benefits, and allowed Wall Street to play fast and loose with peoples' money. But, Nooooo – they aren't racist.

    May 5, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  20. Pat

    So if any one disagrees with the black guy who is president they are racist? What a joke! This is 2010, this isn't the 1800's. Sounds to me that the media and the libs are really reaching to justify why so many are pissed that our country is going in the toilet.

    May 5, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  21. Mike

    Liberals have a vested interest in painting the tea party as racists. Its funny they have black americans speak to their rallies and they get enthusiastic applause, which begs to differ with the liberals. They oppose obama not on race but on his policies. The tea party opposes white liberals, does that make them racists also?

    May 5, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  22. Greg in Colorado

    Totally agree. This is a party of pure hate. A total disenfranchised subsector of the far right. It is the KKK in the millinium.

    May 5, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  23. jilli

    Too little, too late. You only get one chance to make a first impression. The tea baggers blew this gig from the very start.

    May 5, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  24. American Patriot -- a "real" tea partier

    If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck - aw, you know the rest.

    May 5, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  25. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    While the official statements by the tea-partiers may say that they are not officially a racist organization, the tea-partiers do, in fact, provide a politically safe base for hate groups to operate in. By claiming they are a grass roots organization, rather than admit they are funded in large part by Republican backers, the tea-partiers can disavow any knowledge of or support of hate groups that might be at their rallies.

    Somewhat like the Republicans are doing with the tea-partiers themselves.

    May 5, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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