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. Mesa Mick

    Tea Baggers – racist?!? Ya think...

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

    This is the Tea Party stance:

    "Look! A guy stepped on an ant!" It's Obama's fault!
    "A bird pooped on a guy's car!" It's Obama's fault!
    "It's night time!" It's Obama's fault!
    "I got caught not paying my taxes!" It's Obama's fault!
    "I'm late for work!" It's Obama's fault!
    " I twisted my ankle!" It's Obama's fault!
    "That boa constrictor just ate a small rodent!" It's Obama's fault!"
    "I've been found guilty of tax-evasion!" It's Obama's fault!"
    "It's HOT outside!" It's Obama's fault!"

    Basically, these idiots only have one argument:
    Blame Obama for everything. They spend their time not trying to figure out how to SOLVE a problem...but how to twist it and turn it until it LOOKS as if it's President Obama's fault.

    Haven't we all gotten a bit TIRED of this? Pretty lame thing to do...but I suppose thats what so-called "movements" are all about these days.

    May 5, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. once upon a horse

    one of the talking points that the far right LOVES to use is that "anyone who opposes President Obama is considered to be a racist" and that is far from being the truth. It's a spin they have so far been sucessful in using but the fact is those who oppose the president and have to use his race to express their opposition ARE racist! The major idea of the Tea Party movement may have been a good one, not too many Americans like high taxes and deficit spending. Where they went wrong was waiting for Obama to take office to form their movement when this problem started WAY before Jan 20, 2009, and allowing the far-right racist fringe front and center to grab all the atention. While this was going most right wingers they tried to deny it...or sweep it under the rug. Even saying that these folks were expressing their admendment rights even though they disagreed with them. But when you have the leader of one of the Tea Party groups here in Texas holding a sign with a racial slur on it..even though it was mis-spelled and then Tancredo making his racists remarks in Nashville this group has a lot to answer for.

    May 5, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. mike

    it is easy to say we are not races but if that was true there action at
    there rallies would have been a lot different now because they need
    the support of a larger media of voters they are trying to take off the
    white sheets but as the saying goes wants you air your laundry
    everybody knows you true intent

    May 5, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. FactCheck

    Tea Party members say that they are not racists.... in other news:
    -the sky says it is not blue
    -water says it is not wet
    -Cheney says he wants what is best for the US.

    May 5, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Allison

    When nothing else sticks, play the race card, that's what the libs do best.

    May 5, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. larry

    They are known as "The White Annoying Teabaggers" for a reason.

    May 5, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. DonBeal

    Michelle Bachmann referred to President Obama's administration as 'gangsta' government. That seems quite racist to me.

    May 5, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |

    I ask has anyone ever seen a person of color at these rallies, oh wait I do, the signs of POTUS with horrible slogans. The Teabaggers are as racist as they come. You know the protesters in AZ had a mixture of races not all just Mexicans. I have never ever heard that any speaker has ever ever asked those carrying racial signs that they be removed from the rally. The Teabaggers want a All White POTUS with all white Cabinet.

    May 5, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |

    It would be unfair to say that all of the Tea Baggers are racists. However, it is fair to say that most, if not all, racists are Tea Baggers.

    May 5, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. JR

    How on earth can they deny that racism is an element if 10% of Baggers admit that is their reason for their support? Plus how many Baggers are racist but don't admit it?

    May 5, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  12. Eric

    Racist – new definition... "anyone winning an argument against a liberal."

    Person 1 – "The legislative branch should act only in strict accordance with the enumerated powers granted to it in the Constitution. This is how the framers intended the legislature to work."

    Democrat, in response – "YERARAAAAAAAACISSSSST!"

    We hated Wild Bill Clinton's socialist maneuverings regarding the attempted unconstitutional annexation of the medical field every bit as much as we hated Obama's... why didn't you scream RAAAAYYYYYYYCIST then???

    I'm convinced liberals continue to stir the imaginary turd of "racism" just to benefit from the stink that follows.

    May 5, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. Mike Kerr

    I don't believe there was any poll done when Mr. Bush was president trying to determine whether members of the NAACP, or any other predominantly minority group was prejudiced against him because they disagreed with him. It is a pretty sad day when if you diagree with someone and he or she is a minority that you are accused of racism.

    May 5, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. If We Can Defeat Him On Health Care It Will Be His Waterloo

    It's a psychosis, fueled by the rantings and ravings of BeckBaugh and their minions.

    Five phases of GOP – Got Obama Psychosis
    1. Denial
    2. Anger
    3. Anger and hatred
    4. Virulent anger and extreme hatred
    5. Permanent minority status

    May 5, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. Rosalinda Torres Lawrence, Mass

    OH PLEASE!!!! When I read in last weeks polls that the mayority of tea people would vote republican and that 57% of them approved of none other than GWBUSH that was the last I wanted to hear from this group, he didn't even have those # for the hole nation. These people are nothing more than republicans in disguise trying once more to CON the American people to vote them in to office, again, I don't know why because when republicans say that the government doesn't work they always prove it!!! Republicans are NOT to be voted in office it is not in our best of interest..

    May 5, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  16. billybob 'n NC

    "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."

    What a stupid question. What did you expect them to say; yes, we are racist.

    How much more ridiculous and meaningless can polls become?

    May 5, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. Gus

    There are two sides to the Tea Party movement. There is the Ron Paul wing, which is truly interested in reducing the size of all phases of government and to limit our nation's involvement overseas. This is the wing that could very well find moderate, even Democratic support.

    Then there is the Sarah Palin side, which is simply a personality cult, a way for disgruntled people of pale skin to feel like they are doing something ... without having to actually do anything. This is the wing that is clearly racist, that has dragged down those who really and truly want to work for a real change in government.

    May 5, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. El Gordo

    I think the whiteness of the Tea Bagger Movement is a product of Conservative rhetoric. Conservative leaders, who lie to their supporters routinely, have been telling this group of people that minorities are living in the lap of luxury on welfare, driving Cadillacs, and eating pate because Liberals love non-Christian loafers better than good citizens. In the meantime, the hard-working salt of the earth ordinary Americans are struggling to make a living and pay taxes.

    This is a preposterous and perverse caricature of Liberalism. It is a lie that the naive and paranoid have been convinced is the truth. Conservatism deliberately provokes racist sentiment wherever it can, assuring naive white voters that Liberals are "against" whites and "for" minorities.

    These Tea Party folks are suckers. They are being played by the Conservative leadership like harmonicas. They are not racists so much as people who imagine that THEY are the victims of racism. They believe that THEY are working to support loafers who are given wide screen TVs and government paid luxury housing. Their sense of rage is real, but the facts on which they base it are bogus.

    Fool me once, shame on you.
    Fool me twice, shame on me.
    Fool me a hundred times over 50 years, and I must be a Conservative voter.

    May 5, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. tweety

    OH COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ya got to be kidding me with that one.

    If you are a brown person are probaly Republican.
    If you are against health care for all are probaly Republican.
    If you don't associate with the middle class and could care less about are probaly a Republican. If you hate the gays and allowing them to get married you are probaly Republican.

    THIS is the party these types of people RUN to for a reason. Wake up!

    This party is doomed. The majority of people in this country are brown, mixed race, whatever......and their kids are only getting age.

    I'm white as can be and I'm not concerned at all. I LOVE the melting pot we are. I love my friends of all races, male or female...brown, black, tan, red, white.

    It can only be a step in the right direction to see this party GONE!!!!!!!!

    May 5, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  20. Kevin St Pete FL

    As an African American, please tell me what am I to think when I look back and see the what transpired at the McCain/Palin Campaign rallies, the effigies, death threats, songs, charicatures depicting the President. Tell me, what should I think when I see Tea Party Members shouting racial slurs and spitting on Congressmen who once walked hand in hand with MLK for Civil Rights. Tell me, how should I feel when you have A Congressman shout "YOU LIE!!" to the President during the State of the Union Address, or about the laws that Arizona passed on immigration, then try to explain the Birthers and Deathers, and people showing up at town hall meetings And the Nation's Capitol ARMED.

    I really don't care IF Michael Steele is the first African American to hold the chairmanship of the RNC OR if you do have African Americans that are members of the Tea Party, but if they see it and DO NOTHING, then they are just as culpable AS their White Counterparts.

    May 5, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. BillE

    Just drive by one of these mobs and make your own judgement.

    May 5, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. RJ1008

    Tea party agitations started against Obama within 3 to 4 months of him taking oath. Don't you think it is too early to start an agitation without knowing what he is going to do on any issue? They talk about big government, bailouts and other stuff but they support GOP for standing for the banks and wall street. Tea baggers say one thing but their protests say something else. It's pretty obvious that it is a KKK rally against Obama.

    May 5, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  23. Stephen

    Who cares. Those opponents are usually ridiculous anyway.

    May 5, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. Carl

    The liberals, fully supported by the media, are in panic mode regarding the grass roots tea party movement. They see a bloodbath coming in November and realize they are powerless to stop it, just as they were powerless in Massachussetts and New Jersey. They have attempted to paint us with their label of "racist", but it just cannot be justified. They have attempted to label our message as "dangerous" and "inciting violence", but that too cannot be justified. The reality is that the tea party IS a grass roots collection of every day American citizens fed up with an overbloated federal government that cannot control its spending, and that refuses to even listen to its people.

    May 5, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  25. Randy

    I'm trying to figure out how the tea party could be racist, do they stop people from coming to events, do they stop people from signing up on the websites? Or is this just way for the left to push the race button one more time. I think it comes down to if enough people say something enough times it becomes true, no matter how wrong it actually is. I challenge anybody to go to a tea party event, I agree that some things said may be a bit off the wall, but all in all I think it is just a group of people stating what they believe to be right for the country. I think that could be said of any political organization or event.

    May 5, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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