July 5th, 2010
12:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Tea Party says federal debt extremely serious threat

A new poll indicates that 61 percent of Tea Party movement supporters say the national debt is an extremely serious threat to the country.

A new poll indicates that 61 percent of Tea Party movement supporters say the national debt is an extremely serious threat to the country.

Washington (CNN) – It may be no surprise, but a new poll indicates that Tea Party supporters and those opposed to the movement don't see eye to eye on some of the top issues facing the nation.

According to a USA Today/Gallup survey released Monday, 61 percent of self-described Tea Party movement supporters say that the federal government's debt is an extremely serious threat to the country, with only 29 percent of self-described Tea Party opponents saying that the debt is an extremely serious threat.

Forty-nine percent of Tea Party supporters say the size and power of the federal government is an extremely serious threat, with only 12 percent of Tea Party opponents agreeing.

Tea Party activists say one of the aims of their movement is to reduce the size and power of the federal government, and that's reflected in the poll. Eight out of 10 Tea Party supporters questioned say that the government is doing too much that should be left to individuals and business. That drops to 27 percent among Tea Party opponents. Only 17 percent of Tea Party activists say the government should be doing more to solve the nation's problems. That figure jumps to 64 percent among Tea Party opponents.

The survey also indicates that the concerns of Tea Party supporters are not that different from those of Republican voters.

The USA Today/Gallup poll was conducted May 24-25 and June 11-13, with 2,063 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Filed under: national debt • Tea Party movement
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Grahame Rhodes

    Tea Party Phooey!!!!! Give us an alternative. Bunch of idiots

    July 5, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. vwrtb

    And 90% of real working Americans find the tea party the most serious threat!

    July 5, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. g

    if the republicans were still in power there would be no tea party debtwould be ok as long if it was tax breaks for the rich

    July 5, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. John from Brooklyn

    Sadly, once again the Tea Party fanatics are only half right. Long-term sustained federal debt, fueled by BOTH high spending and low taxation is, in fact, a problem (e.g. Greece).

    However, in the US, the % of the economy accounted for by federal government spend is significantly lower than any major economy in the world and, aside from the stimulus package, federal spending has not increased significantly (as % of total US economy) since the end of WWII.

    Bottom line...short term stimulus spend...along with the "you can have it without paying taxes to pay for it" taxation approach of the GOP (and the Tea Party fanatics) has resulted in the ballooning deficit. Keep in mind that, during the 90's, when the Clinton Administration managed spend conservatively AND corrected the tax imbalances of the Reagan years...we actually ran with a SURPLUS!

    July 5, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. chris

    What I'd say is the greatest threat to this country is the hyper-partisanship, willful ignorance, and unfocussed rage that is being used as a substitute for thoughtful, engaging political discourse. And the Tea Party is the epitome of it all, blindly pursuing a rigid ideology of absolutes.

    July 5, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. Linda

    Trust the economists who insist that keeping spending going is
    more vital to our economy than the deficit.

    What do these extreme, wingnut Tea Parties know about economics?

    Do any of them have college – or – high school degrees? Seems
    like most of them did not get past eighth grade!

    July 5, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. Denny

    The Tea Party is the only grass roots group calling attention to the sorry state of our government and our economy. It's a lousy job but somebody has to do!

    July 5, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. vic

    Tea party leaders, Fox news and radio talk show cost like Rush Limbaugh scarring Americans. We know our country facing problems but not that extend tea party and others say
    We faces worst problems before we came out from those we will come out

    Americans are optimist they will reject tea party before November

    July 5, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. lovable liberal

    The tea party loons only care about debt when the President is a Democrat. They didn't care when Duhbya financed his wars with Chinese money. And they didn't care when Ronald Reagan financed his tax cuts and military spending.

    The tea parties don't actually care about debt. They just don't want to spend on *people*.

    July 5, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. Pam

    Trust the economists? Those with degrees? They have done really well, haven't they? Have you looked at graphs showing how well the stimulus has worked? It hasn't – open your eyes. Degrees do not = wisdom.

    July 5, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. renobill

    I forget, was it a big problem when Bushy was Prez??

    July 5, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Edward

    You notice that Republicans only started caring about the economy and national debt after Bush left office?

    July 5, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Actually the stimulus has created over 2.8 million jobs. Stop listening to the nuts at extreme media.

    July 5, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. Tori in Texas

    I bet those answers would be different if asked another way. Like, Do you think the government should end all entitlements to cut and balance the budget? Including YOUR social security and medicare benefits? LOL Watch them flip out they find out they have to sacrifice a little something. Then ask if they would support bringing all our troops home to end our involvment in TWO still unfunded wars they support. You'll get a USA USA USA chant in response.

    Yea, I bet those answers would change on a dime – if it was THEIR dime.

    July 5, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. Mesa Mick

    The only "serious threat" to this country are the tinfoil hat wearin' nut jobs that make up the Tea Party...

    July 5, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. DENNA

    Ah yes, the "take us back to the 50's" party. Why didn't you people say something when this all started, you know, when Bush was still president and jobs were disappearing and the deficit was blooming? This is why Bush did not put the cost of his two wars on the books. Apparently, the "Tea Party" prefers Bush lies to President Obama's honesty. HE put the costs on the books. Why don't you just zone out and listen to Lush Limbaugh et al. and let the adults handle this?

    July 5, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. Sherrie Eugene, Oregon

    ...Unless only if the Tea Baggers like it, want it and want some more of it! Right Tea Tree Oilers??? {I remember THAT chant as a cheerleader in the 8th grade 32 years ago!!!}

    July 5, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. Tony in Maine

    The Tea Partiers are a bigger threat to the nation than our government could be even if The Party of No returned to power.

    July 5, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. Ben

    The debt is without a doubt a serious threat, as it was when Bush was spending the country into insolvency. Yet I wonder how many of them favor cutting the largest source of our debt – our military spending which is over half of the budget. I hear them whining about illegal immigration and social programs, which make up a fraction of the cost of our foreign occupations and military budget. We will either cut them our we will collapse under the unsustainable weight of our military budget, as the USSR did in the 80's.

    July 5, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. Don Don


    Yesterday Saxby Chamblis claims the deficit is an extremely serious threat to the US. Today, the Tea Baggers mimic that statement and it somehow makes the news.

    Anyone who tries to claim the Tea Party is not just another GOP Astroturf front must think the people have a terrible memory.

    Or possibly they think people can't see that the GOP movers and shakers send out a message and suddenly every Republican talking head, every tea bagger, every Fox News opinion show and every conservative talk radio program is spouting the same message.

    I wonder who is going to say the deficit is a danger next?

    July 5, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    Dick Cheney, December 2002: "Deficits don’t matter."

    Where were the teabaggers then?

    July 5, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. John Wilson

    Funny, the tea party never complained back when Reagan saddled this country with enormous amounts of debt that we're still repaying to this day. I think I'm beginning to see a pattern here:

    Spending on frivolous wars = good use of money
    Spending on health care = bad use of money

    Tori, I don't think so. The tea party members will accept being screwed and say thank you, so long as the TV tells them its "patriotic" or "jesus-loving" to do so.

    July 5, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. Reagan REP

    OMG!!! Where do you LIBS get your "facts"?! The debt under Bush was nothing compared to what Obama is doing. The most Bush had was a 500 billion deficit versus Obama's current and planned 1 trillion plus deficits – and Bush was fighting 2 wars whereas Iraq is winding down. Reagan's tax cuts were prototypical Kenysian economics that the Democrats now use to justify, incorrectly, their deficit spending. I remember gas lines and my parents coming home because they ran out before their turn. I remember CDs that payed 12-20% because inflation was so bad. Reagan gave us 20 years of unparalleled economic growth and the Democrats were in charge of Congress the whole time Republicans lead this nation so blame debt on them. A Republican lead Congress gave Clinton his surplus. It wasn't until the last 8 years that Republicans lost their way. Know what you are talking about and lay blame where it belongs!

    July 5, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. worriedmom

    Seems the Liberals are intimidated by the Tea Party. any fool can see that the national debt is a serious crisis. Tea Party Opponents appear to be in the minority in the polls. Guess these are the ones that want the Govt to give them everything, like the lady who expresses she wanted Obama to be President so he could pay her electric bill, her mortgage.

    July 5, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. Beth

    If we weren't spending billions of dollars on wars without a way to pay for them we might no be in this mess. Tax cuts don't pay for wars. Yet when people want to actually fix roads and schools in their cities it always gets voted down. I guess it is okay to spend money out of the country for defense, but if you want to fix something at home too bad. In 10 years when our infastructure is crumbling people will be whining about how come it wasn't fixed. You get what you pay for.

    July 5, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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