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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= 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. doug

    So every Democrat in America is saying that if you don't 100% support Obama and the Democrat party, you are a racist.

    And its a stretch to think they will go around rounding up every non lib and throwing them into camps?

    May 5, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. mrkusn

    Let's call the Tea Party what it is: an angry reaction to what they deem is a leftist African-American president. Ask progressives what they think of President Obama and you will certainly hear otherwise. Obama is a corporate centrist with occasional left leanings.

    Although George W ran up deficits and endorsed bailouts, not such campaign was launched against him and his administration. Some are racist in the Tea Party. The ones I know are not. Tea party folks believe that they are losing this country from traditional values. I think their fear is being used to gain political capital. The fight for traditional values has been going on in every generation. This movement is not a wake up call. This movement is like political telemarketing.

    May 5, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Jeff

    81%? More like 99.99999% are white. Good luck explaining that.

    May 5, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. tommy_g

    I'm not a racist, I'm a Patriot!!!! If the man I had voted for, John McCain had become President there wouldn't be a Tea Party because we KNOW how patriotic that man is. The current President, we are not completely sure where his allegiance is...and that's what this movement is all about.

    May 5, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Jimbo (The real one)

    While I do agree that all Tea Party members are not racists I am wondering where all these people were when Bush's BIG government was operating...? Why did it take the election of a black man to bring them out...just asking.

    May 5, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Mattski

    I do not believe the Tea Party is a racist group or that they're prejudiced against Obama. But they do fight this reputation mainly because members within the group rant on and on about Obama's heritage and things of that nature. Every time someone who claims to be a member of the Tea Party makes a remark about Obama's birthplace or his religion, or calls him a facist or some other name out of left field, it just lessens their credibility among thinking citizens. It's like Rush claiming that liberals sabotaged the oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. Such talk is a turn-off to everyone except the conspiracy theorists and others wingnuts that the Tea Party needs to distance itself from.

    May 5, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. Fitz in Texas

    Give me a freakin break. Do these people that disagree with the Tea Party ever get tired of throwing out the race card. AND a poll conducted by 'The ABC News/Washington Post'...year right, I'm sure that's an honest and fair poll. (insert sarcasm)

    May 5, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. Larry

    The basic resistence to the Obama administration is racism. It's obvious and the racists can't deny it.

    Too bad. President Obama will go down in history as one of the best leaders this country has ever had.

    May 5, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. rachel

    Yeah those teaparty people should not be so mean and violent and throw bottles at police man and vandilize other people's property ohh wait that was the may day rally.

    May 5, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. Flyer69

    When pigs fly

    May 5, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. L.A.

    Referring to the poll results, Tea Partiers could say their glass is nine-tenths empty, and critics could say it is one-tenth full (of racist anger).

    May 5, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. Annie, Atlanta

    When you carry signs depicting President Obama as Hitler, or send around e-mails with pictures of him as an African witch doctor, or use the "N" word on your signs, that's racism. Deny it all you want, tea baggers. But the facts are documented forever, for all of us to see.

    Yelling I want my country back tells me loud and clear you want to take it all the way back to a time when whites ruled. I, myself, want to move forward. The rest of the world is, and they're leaving us in the dust of our hatred.

    The haters usually crawl out of the woodwork when Democrats are in charge, and it seems to be socially acceptable for some reason. But I've never seen hate like this. Just look at some of the comments on the ticker if you have doubts. And the hate is coming in overwhelming numbers from only one side.

    May 5, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. Luke Brown

    There is not a single thing in the Tea Party's platform that addresses issues that were not seriously out of control when Bush was in there. Deficit spending, taxes, etc ... were all a huge mess when George Bush was in office.

    Now, however, these Tea Party people (or the GOP PR firms that created the "movement") think they need to act to fight big government.

    The only thing that has changed is (a) we have a President who is taking these issues seriously, and (b) is African American.

    Sure. No racism there.

    May 5, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Sheila

    If one in 10 tea party supporters say that anger at having an African-American president is reason to support the Tea Party movement that may BE a small number – but the signicance is huge.

    May 5, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. ray

    fool some but now all, anyone who cannot admit these people are racists should burn in hell with them. this tea party is as racists as they come and as racists as it gets. these people keep saying they want back their country. mmmmm i wonder what they natives are saying when they hear these racists say that? dont forget tea party people, you stole this country from the real americans , dont ever forget that and this country does not belongs to you people or any other white people. the same way you hate immigrants and black people and want them to go back to mexico or africa you should all deport yourselves to europe or where ever you cam from. the natives are the ones who should be yelling we want our coutry back.

    May 5, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. Tulsa

    lol... the cons and tprs don't think there's a racism problem. Go figure.

    "I don't like people who aren't white..... no problem."

    May 5, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Dave

    Of course the critics are going to say that. Otherwise, they wouldn't be critics.

    There are bad elements in every group or party. Most of the groups probably try to keep that element out. I believe the Tea Party is the same way and don't want that element associated with them.

    Not to mention that one group who orchestrates "infiltration" of Tea Party events with people wearing Nazi uniforms and other racist stuff just to stir the pot. They are even told to volunteer for television interviews and then say stupid, inflaming things. Idiots!

    May 5, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. Tom

    So much for "plausible deniability".....All Baggers are Wannabe KKK!

    May 5, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. Steve, New York City

    I am with the Tea Party, with respect to its desire for smaller government and lower taxes . . .but on some broader issues, I'm sure that I'll disagree with them (and I think that decent people can disagree on things, such as abortion rights).

    However, the poll says it all – some of these people are being motivatied by racism, and you can see that coming through in certain left-wing politicians getting taunted recently. You can also see it in this "ridiculous" re-emerging search for Obama's birth certificate (and really people, does anything think that Rep Joe Wilson would have yelled "You Lie" to Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter)?

    May 5, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. MHabib

    Smear your opponents with the charge of racism. It's the liberal way. And the fact that CNN keeps harping on this issue, just reinforces the liberal slander of all who disagree with Obama and co.

    May 5, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  21. T'SAH from Virginia

    You DO NOT need a poll to prove the Tea Party is anti-Color – just look at the members and you will see that 97% of them are WHITE (I just gave 3% to non-White but really do not believe it’s that high).

    This is the second time this week CNN is allowing the Tea Party to make an attempt to prove they are not racist. The last article drew comments that were overwhelmingly high – saying they are!! It’s too LATE for the Tea Party to attempt Damage Control – they are labeled RACIST.

    Controlling the damage that was caused by the members they allowed to be part of their party should have been done when the RACIST remarks were made – the spitting – the threats – and N-Word was being used. Instead, they 'embraced' rowdy crowd – sometimes defending them – in order to MAKE their party PURE by moving further to the RIGHT!!

    Now, the Tea Party is ALONE on the right – politicians whom they endorse are not winning and they PUSHED the more moderate Republicans OUT!! They are RACIST because I could NEVER see myself standing next to a member holding up a sign that’s calling our President a communist, monkey, joker, Hitler, etc.

    May 5, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. Sheila

    If one in 10 tea party supporters say that anger at having an African-American president is reason to support the Tea Party movement that may BE a small number – but the significance is huge.

    May 5, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. vet in TX

    I do enjoy that a group of people are able to come together and voice their issues with the government. However; the tea party movement never had a single point that they were protesting against. They went from spending (stimulus bill), to smaller government, then to freedoms. These are all valid concerns, but initally they were a group of people who were all upset and didn't know which person they could trust to think like they do. The common thread with all of them was that the President does not have a birth certificate, that he is a muslim, that he palls around with terrorists, and that he was going to take away their guns. It went from that to after the stimulus was passed and discussed, worried all of the sudden about their great grandchildren. Their lack of action when W/Cheney did all of the things that they are protesting along with their motivation once a black man was sworn in, tells me that they have a bill and webbed feet.

    "They are what we though they were" – Denny Green

    May 5, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. dora

    Folks, there's a real simple way to figure this out. Go to a Tea Party rally. See for yourself, don't take anyone's word for it. This is true of all kinds of situations, go to political rallies. Talk to people that you meet. Stop, Look, and Listen. Then decide for yourself.

    May 5, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. Dan Holiday

    Of course critics will say that they are racist. They cannot come up with anything else other than insults and slanders. Never mind that they cannot give one shred of proof to their claims, but that is how the liberals work. They will define and vilify their enemies no matter what the cost, or how untrue it is. They are pathetic and their usefulness has run its course. I can't wait until November. Then the GOP will come back to power and this country will be great again. Until then I can only hope the liberals do not destroy the country beyond repair.

    May 5, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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