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. Steve (the real one)

    To be honest, the racist element does exist yet what liberals and their meida types cannot admit, it is a really small minority. Probably some liberal infiltrators! Stop condemning an entire movement for the actions of an ignorant few! i am sure you would have hissy fit if the tables were turned!

    May 5, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. IKHAN

    Yeah sure!

    with pushing a person of color out from the White House being their sole agenda & people parading with placards reading"send Obama back to Kenya" in their rallies.
    Give me a break!

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

    Why is it because a group dislikes what the president and the president's party are doing to this country that they are considered a racist threat? Could it be that it hits too close to home on many of the issues that are brought up?

    May 5, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Future expat

    GOPers live in a fantasy world full of flying unicorns, magical rainbows and swirly lollipops. Here's some other highlights from their wacky universe:

    -The founding fathers were all Jesus-loving Christians
    -The Civil War was only about states rights
    -FDR's New Deal prolonged the Great Depression
    -Ronald Reagan single-handedly brought down communism by running across the Atlantic Ocean and smashing the Berlin Wall with his fist.
    -2006 Dem Congress is responsible for everything bad that happened before 2006 and after 2006
    -Sarah Palin is intelligent.

    May 5, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. John Kennedy

    Stop turning for America, Your show & news reporting is so far to the left it's not funny.

    May 5, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. lila

    There are a lot of racist who crash into Tea-parties and group with them. But the tea-party is a product of fear. The fear is over many things. Anger is a cover to the fear. There is vast amounts of purposeful ignorance being circulated throughout the tea-party crowed. Most don't really want to have a factual debate. They are emotional not rational. they want to beat doom drums and make up horror stories that help fuel there feelings. All the stuff they claim feels true because it confirms there fears. Truth has little to do with it. Race is only one of many tools used to fuel fear. It's not the main one to many.. but to some it is.

    May 5, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. Tim

    Actually, the ones asking the questions are the racists. They deny it, but critics say otherwise.

    May 5, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. Carmelle

    I have 2 points on that:

    1) 9/11, the recession, the deficit spending, violation of the constitution, the surplus turned to deficit, the bailouts, abortions....happened under Bush. -- Why didn't they complain then? Why now?

    2) If they were mad under Bush but, for some reason, are madder at Obama about it, why are they taking directions from Congressmen (Backman, King, Boehner, and Sarah who back McCain), all of whom VOTED FOR THOSE POLICIES ....and from Fox News who STILL defends Bush?

    I think I figured it out:


    May 5, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. All the news that's fit to omit

    The racism charges are BASED ON NOTHING BUT MEDIA LIES.

    No evidence, no videotape, NO NOTHING, but keep up the good work in making it appear to be racism.

    The people who protested against Bush must have been anti-christian or were they just soooooo right in protesting him...

    You want to see some bad posters sheep, look back at the Bush ones with targets on them an WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE, but CNN and others didn't report on it or do polls on why they made the posters.

    If the tea partiers are so racist THEN WHY ARE 32 Black Republicans seeking office and ASKING FOR THEIR HELP?

    Now that is a story based on FACT CNN worth reporting on and not lying liberal theories.

    May 5, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. Bob in PA

    "Supporter" in no way means active participant.
    I do tire of polls and people the reference them when they do not disclose the actual context of the questions. How about you publish the entire poll, answers and all and let people create their own judgement.

    A question posed as "Do you think their could be Tea Party supporters that are angry at having an African-American President ?" verses "Are you angry at having an African-American President ?" is completely different.

    Turning a speculative answer into fact, I guess it's what any good goose-stepper would do.

    May 5, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. Jack

    I'm a white guy who went out of curiousity to a Palin rally back in the '08 election here in Ohio and in Pennsylvania. Assuming the same constituency between hard core Palin supporters and Tea Party members, which based on what I've read is a valid assumption, then there is a definite racist element to their agenda. I was suprised at some of the posters I saw and some of the comments I overheard at that Palin rally. I bet a lot of the people there would claim there's not a racist bone in their bodies ... but cheez if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, then chances are .... its a duck.

    May 5, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Maria H-Miami

    As a U.S. Citizen perhaps I've missed something but I don't see how protesting against more Taxes, higher Taxes is Racist against President Obama.

    And on top of that President Obama is Mullato, he is not 100% Black.

    We cannot forget his mother was White and I don't believe President Obama would appreciate us forgetting her and her White family from Kansas.

    I'm sure he is just as proud to be White as he is Black.

    May 5, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. Kimberly Harding

    nothing more than uneducated HICKS! I mean, if you look at the signs these peope carry, its clear most have little more than a high school education, and most are racist and trolls. I have a page on my facebook that post all the signs these loons carry and all have words spelled incorrect. They are nothing more than biggots and racists, and have NO IDEA what they are talking about, calling Obama a socialist, a nazi, a communist, a marxist, its sad, they dont have a CLUE that all these are different, and not remotely close! SICK all of them! GET JOBS~!

    May 5, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  14. Fed Up

    Just because people do not agree with someone doesn't mean they are racist. This is the problem with the US. Everything turns into racism. Give it a rest.

    May 5, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. Video Guy

    The picture shown for this story shows a person with the US Flag wrapped around him. Who does he think he is? Must be a real American.

    May 5, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. Lori in St Pete

    The guy wrapped in the flag needs to be arrested for violating Federal Flag laws! For starters, his flag is tattered. Secondly, he's wearing it like an article of clothing, and thirdly, it's touching the ground! I'll bet they also plant little flags with their business cards along busy streets and use flag-themed plates and napkins on U.S. holidays! Happens every year here in St. Pete. Then, caring citizens and code enforcement officers go out and pull up the flags, after which toe "victim" then calls the police and reports their flags stolen when they should educate themselves and thank the people who "stole" their flags, as attaching advertising to a flag can (and should) result in a $1,000 fine per flag. Some patriots these morons are!

    May 5, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. FM

    There is no way they can deny there are not racists. When they do scream at their rallies "We want our country back". What does this mean??? Does this not mean the person leading it now is not one of them or does not look like them??? Purely racism!

    May 5, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. Da Professor

    I fully agree with the majority - Tea Party members are bought and paid for by the right-wing extremist racists, the paranoid buy your machine gun and hunker down in your foxhole fools.

    Isn't it time we demanded that the media expose the source of funding for Tea Party transportation from event to event, their hotel rooms, meals, signs, and other necessities? From what I can see from the event pictures, these Tea Parfy "members" could not afford their own expenses, and they have no clue what the heck they are complaining about, other than the fact that there is a black man in the White House.

    May 5, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. jen

    I also think they are raciest. So change your poll numbers to include my vote.

    May 5, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  20. Brian Steele

    Racism is prevelent wihin the GOP base, let alone the Tea Party faction of te party.

    May 5, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. jm

    Do these people look like the biggest bunch of idiots you have ever seen? There are just not the correct words to describe them. They all belong in an insane asylum. If any one else let the American flag drag the ground they would be putting us in their rifle sights. They have no idea what being an American is all about nor do they care. They are a bunch of people who are attention seekers and just want to be in the spotlight. I am quit certain they are not as swell educated as CNN keeps stating,and they are such liars, do you really believe they would tell the truth about that to anyone. CNN, you have become a disgusting network. At one time I enjoyed watching you but you have become another Fox News.

    May 5, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. Fatez

    Demonize your political adversary of a baseless charge. Take it to the media. Media reports it. Make the political adversary defend themselves in the media. Repeat as necessary. Goebbels would be proud...

    May 5, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    My questions are: Why didn't they protest No Child Left Behind? Where were they when the Bush administration left huge deficits that were created out of control spending? Where are all of the Blacks, Latinos, and other groups; I only see White people at these rallies.

    These people need to join the Libertanian party and stop being a part of the GOP. If they join the GOP, then they aren't really focused on the problem that they perceive.

    May 5, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. SammyD

    If the media would do their job and report accurately people wouldn't think this. I"ve been to 4 tea party ralleys and NOT ONCE was their any type of racism so obviously the people polled are ignorant just like the MSN wants them to be., shameful...

    May 5, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. Bob-Texas

    When a person says "It's not about the money" it is always about the money. So what do you think?

    May 5, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
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