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. Anonymous

    Thank GOD for The Tea Party folks!

    May 5, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. Jane (Minnesota)

    When in video clip after video clip I do not see many if any minorities at the Tea Party gatherings and the signage displayed by some people, it's pretty hard not to believe their is not any racism inter-twined.

    May 5, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    If they weren't racists then where was all this "outrage" the past eight years? Funny how they were all silent while bush destroyed this country But hears a man trying to get us on track and they call him everyname but a child of god. They r pitiful.Then they have the nerve to act all surprised when they r called out on it How can we not think ur racist with all the signs and the slurs.

    May 5, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. Rob R

    What more proof do we need of racism at the core of the Tea Party's agenda, than their LOUD silence over the government's overreaching in Arizona...

    May 5, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  5. Uncle Sam

    The Tea Party movement is not racist. The movements principles are at odds with nearly every policy position of the Obama Administration. A) That puts it against the president, who is of color. B) A majority of "racial" minorities tended to vote for Obama, putting their beliefs at Odds with the Tea Party movement.

    Its Idealogical, not racial. The media finds this a fun story, but its pretty pointless.

    May 5, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. sonny chapman

    Have all of the racists in this country suddenly found Religion & changed their evil ways ? Or have they vanished into thin air? No, they went somewhere. Tea Party or Republican, that's where you'll find them.

    May 5, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. Shucks

    Are we all really that stupid? Has anyone of these "tea party" representatives actually been to one of their rallies. FACT: Tea Party rallies have included everything from racial slurs, to hanging monkey toys, to effigies of our president in a noose or worse. Wasn't there a movie about the whole country going blind at the same time? I think it is reality in the reps for the tea party.

    May 5, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. U.S. Common Sense

    The poll should have asked the question: "If Obama was white, would you still be protesting?" The odds are the super-majority would vote yes.

    People need to get off of this "Obama is (half) black" nonsense. It only seems to be the media and the Democrats who keep bringing up race, which makes me question their reasoning.

    May 5, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. Bill

    You ask the opponents if their opponents are racist and they say yes. What a revelation!!! What would you expect them to say?

    May 5, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  10. Ted D

    Not racist? Really?

    In that case, where is the Tea Party outrage over the recent Arizona immigration legislation?

    Doesn't the Tea Party decry big government and its intrusion into the lives of citizens?

    What if white illegals were crossing the border from Canada into WA state, for example, and a similar law were passed there? What if that law required white people to produce papers and to be detained if they could not do so?

    Would the Tea Party members be so silent in that case? Or would they be in the streets screaming their outrage?

    It seems obvious the Tea Party would be outraged by a similar law that effected white people in exactly the same manner that this bill effects Mexicans.

    But the AZ law is just fine to the Tea Party members because it effects only brown people, hispanics. This kind of biased and discriminatory thinking is the essence of racism.

    The Tea Party is not racist? Think again...

    May 5, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. supersenior

    This is from the group that holds up racist signs every week. Maybe they just don't want to admit that they are racist, want to pretend that that has nothing to do with their unreasonable anger at Obama a man who has tried to fix the messes made by Bush and has actually been fairly moderate. It is easier on their conscience to rage at "socialism", "communism", say he is a fascist, etc than to admit that the real problem is that he is black.

    May 5, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. Honor the Flag!

    Apparently these 'Patriots' are ignorant on proper etiquette with regards to Old Glory, as is evidenced by the person on the right of the picture and various audience members.

    You bluster about trashing the Constitution, review the Flag Code and and quit trashing this living symbol of our Great Country!

    May 5, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Hey Teablabbers!

    There is a rally waiting for you – 'avowed' protectors of our Constitution and our civil liberties (yeah sure)- in front of the offices of Marco "Amex" Rubio!!!

    Please do not pass up this opportunity to show us that you really are all about the floundering fathers, and protecting our rights as citizens. Your golden boy is asserting that Mirandizing a suspect be done away with in order to gather information from said suspect!!!

    Aren't you guys against that kind of violation of our rights?!!!

    See you in Florida then, huh (wink, wink)!!

    May 5, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. Bill Depp

    Even one in ten is bad when that one speaks loudest and is heard the most! They have a problem and unless they deal with it, most people will think that the Tea Party gang is a bunch of rednecks and racists.

    May 5, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. sp1

    So 10% of pro-Tea Partyers ADMIT to being racist. That's roughly equal to the proportion of blacks in America. One in ten in this context is a huge number. Throw in that there must be at least an equal amount of supporters who won't admit that the sight of a black President is what has them frothing at the mouth, and it's clear the Tea Party is chock full o' rednecks.

    May 5, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. Four and The Door

    Racism absolutely is not what the Tea Party is about. I guess that the reason this comes up by the liberals and big government Democtrats is that it is so difficult to come up with an argument against the real issues.

    Does anyone want to try and defend the idea of a bigger more expensive government? No, it's easier to try and find another point to build an argument on. If racism is something you want to talk about I'll be glad to take part in that discussion, but I'll be on the side against racism. Meanwhile, I support the issues the Tea Party is built on.

    May 5, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  17. Bubba

    They lie when they say they aren't racists. They hate Obama and call for his assassination.

    May 5, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. Rob

    I'm so sick and tired of hearing about this. Face it the tea party is not a racist grassroots movement. People are just upset see our country fall closer and closer to socialism. The are plenty of African Americans and other nationalities at tea parties. The media chooses not to show any since there in obummers lap. Also the whole racial slur said during the healthcare debate is false, it amazing me no one heard except for one person, weird isn't it. The only racist people are Rev. Jackson and Rev. Sharpton and the Rev. should be dropped by their name, there is nothing reverend about them. All they are, are a bunch of race baiters. There groups are truly sad and pathetic.

    May 5, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  19. JASH

    Down!! this tea party they are a bunch of wingnuts speaking with a bleeding . they are intellectually confused and morally bankrupt

    May 5, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. hubbmax

    If 87% of teabaggers SAY that "racism does not play a part in the movement's opposition to the president's policies", why can't they rein in the other 13 (or less ) % who go to the trouble to create and show-off clearly racist signs at their rallies? Why would they not work VERY HARD to rein those fools in and remove even the possibility of being tarred by that brush.....?

    May 5, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  21. Larry L

    All they need is those pointy hoods and they'll accurately represent themselves. This reminds me of the rhetoric following the Republican Convention where they claimed to be a party representing all Americans. Funny how the camera couldn't really find anybody other than white people. Are we to believe them, or our eyes?

    The Tea Party is another version of the swift-boat crowd – funded by ultra conservative political action groups and disguised as a grass-roots movement. They appeal to the same people who buy magnets to treat water and natural herbs to increase penis size. Enough!

    May 5, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  22. Chandler01

    Of course it is fueled by racism. The Tea Party organized before Obama had passed any legislation, therefore, they can NOT be the result of protesting his policies.

    May 5, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  23. Scott

    Let me get this straight, one in ten tea party supporters are angry about having an African-American president? If one in ten specifically admit it, the real number is even higher. I'm somewhat shocked & surprised. I attributed ignorace, stupidity, and a well honed Republican misinformation campaign as the causes of whipping up the tea party loonies; I didn't suspect that level of racism.

    May 5, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. Phil

    The Tea Party is a lame version of the KKK. What's missing are the pointy hats and burning crosses.

    May 5, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. Dolly from RI

    It is really hard to imagine that this is about tax and spending when under Bush we had the highest spending since WWII and the biggest expansion of Government since the depression. Where were they then? Now that a Black man is President suddenly they are protesting. First it was about taxes when in fact 95% of us got a tax break and we are still under the same tax code as Bush. The Tea Party crew is a racist movement filled with fringe elements and is hardly a grassroots organization, funded by the likes of Fox news and Freedom works. What a joke!

    May 5, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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