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. reACTIONarry

    Keep the gubment's hands off my medicare!

    July 5, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. bobden

    I've yet to hear a solution, or even a suggestion from any of the tea party creeps. Or from the repug NOers. Yelling that the national debt is too big is not a solution.

    If the repug creeps would stop blocking every effort, we could have a real government for the 1st time since Jan, 2001.

    July 5, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. Rick in OP

    They are not the only ones who think ballooning federal deficits are a threat to the United States.
    Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked in a televised interview last month what was, in his opinion, the greatest threat to the United States. His response was "unrestrained federal spending and rapidly increasing budget deficits".

    July 5, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. gary

    The Tea Peeps are right....can't keep borrowing and spending. We need to balance the budget. Stop making excuses....stop trying to artificially prop up the economy....Stop tax and spend....first cut spending by 15% across the board, then next year we can talk about taxes.

    July 5, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. key

    What a worthless bunch of nothing disgusting. They have absolutely nothing to offer but criticism. Offer some solutions if you are only sulking.

    July 5, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Jilli

    This poll illustrates the shallow thinking of the tea party "movement aka, the republicans. They're lack of ability to see the big picture and all the functioning parts of the economy, and what's needed for recovery.

    I don't put much faith in their "movement", they're the perfect dupes for dog whistle politics, they've been falling for it for years and the results of republican administations has been disasterous for our country.

    These same dimwitted hypocrits stood by while the debt was tripled under Bush and St. Reagan. I guess they had some kind of epiphany, right? Yeah...right.

    July 5, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. thor

    Ithink most people realize how serious the national debt is,except Obama.This administration spent million of taxpayers money on lavish W.H. parties in 2009 alone.And it continues into 2010.While the President and First Lady insist the rest of us endure economic hardship,they are living like a King and Queen on taxpayer's money.

    July 5, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  8. stewie griffin, RI

    ah, the tea "late to the party". good stuff. nice to see we had no debt when bush was in office. i did not know that obama is responsible for all $13 trillion of our current debt. i also did not know that obama started the war in afghanistan. i love how republicans just make stuff up.

    did you know that sarah palin used to be a man? is it true? who cares since we are playing the "make things up" game.

    July 5, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. Pam

    Does anyone think it's a problem that only two out of 16 comments posted here are conservative arguments? And that many are uninformed comments – if you make comments about tea party people, you should really know some and not take the word of "journalists". There are very many highly educated people, small business owners, etc. that are involved in the tea parties. And also a sizeable number of minorities.

    July 5, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. Dick Cheney for President in 2012

    It seems that if you are a parasite who is waiting on his/her next handout from the government, then the Tea Party Movement is a threat to you.
    Be honest with yourself, if it takes government involvement in your life for you to function, then you are a loser and will always be a loser.
    Sadly, there is a high probability that your children will grow up to be losers, too.

    July 5, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. Mike in SA

    It's amazing the idiots who will only say "where were you when Bush did [fill in the blank]" insinuating that we were 100% behind Bush. Were we 100% behind Bush you would not have seen the number of Republican Representatives drop from 232 to 202 to the current 178 and the number of Republican Senators drop from 55 to 49 to 40 over the last 3 election cycles. What has happened in our government over the past 18 months though is a great example of why we weren't out protesting before. What, we were supposed to protest at worst a $400B deficit only to bring in $1000B deficits as far as the eye can see? Brilliant!

    July 5, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. Capsaicin

    Debt is a problem in the long-term picture. Those screaming about it in the short term as the US economy sputters and unemployment is huge and the immediate need is both more government spending and incentives for JOBS are simply politicized pawns who are happy to try to help bring President Obama down.

    July 5, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  13. ran

    Where were they when Bush was running up the debt with two wars, giving out the surplus left by Clinton? It was Bush who said "the deficit does not matter." Now the Republicans using the deficit to obstruct any and every thing that would be good for the people. The Republicans had and have no problem given out billions to fight a war and to rebuilt another country without finding ways to pay for it but, they wont even give people in this country, who are out of work because of the greed on wall street, unemployment help without first paying for it.

    I can only hope people will vote for either a true Democrat or Independent and not give a single win to the fear/hate/obstructionist/purity Republicans.

    July 5, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  14. eric_in_tx

    DENNA July 5th, 2010 12:48 pm ET

    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?

    #1. Don't blame Bush and don't give Obama credit. The President only has veto power. The House and Senate make and pass laws. They are directly responsible for the economy. #2. The economy was great till the Dems took over and it has continued to spiral downhill for 6 years. If the Dems are so great, why didn't they STOP the skid? And don't blame the war. Historically our economy booms during wartime. #3. Obama's honesty? Really? Are you that politically ignorant? You call backdoor meetings to pass legislation honesty? The man has lied as bad as Bush (And I agree, Bush did lie....alot! But Obama is NO BETTER!) #4. I love how Democrats think anybody who is not in agreeance is a Rush Limbaugh hack. I can't stand Rush cause I think he whines to much and he won't hold BOTH sides accountable. I want BOTH SIDES HELD ACCOUTABLE.

    As for putting costs on the books, Obama is only showing you want he wants you to see. The same way EVERY politician does!

    July 5, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. A HA

    So Tea Partiers was it ok for all the repulican presidents to practice deficite spending? Starting with Reagan{Your hero} that indeed put us all in this big mess and now you complian about spending to get us out that same mess? Where was ou when Bush was spending tons of money on wars and giving big tax breaks to the rish and energy policies that made BP spill possible.Not to mention making free trade agreements thet made out soursing all our jobs their job one. Y'all need to go back under that rock.

    July 5, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. Save America

    Atleast the tea party is worried about the future of this country. It sounds like everyone else just wants a handout and is dependent on the government. Why aren't more people worried about the debt that will be passed on to our children and grandchildren? We can't keep spending money we don't have...this should be common sense.

    Something is wrong with the system when only half of Americans pay income tax!

    I wish Obama knew how to create private jobs instead of temporary government jobs. He's also good about taking care of the big unions.

    July 5, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. eric_in_tx

    I could balance the budget real quick. Stop spending money on those that HAVE NO DESIRE TO HELP THEMSELVES. Those that have been on welfare for 2, 5, 10, 20 years. You're telling me in 5 years you couldn't get an education? Get a job? Get something for yourself? No. And why should they. We are the only country in the world in which the poorest among us are obese! Why? Cause we GIVE THEM EVERYTHING. Make welfare like unemployment. If you have no GED/High School diploma, then you have 1 year from time of filing to complete. No GED/Degree, no welfare. You have a maximum 2 year drawing period. If you can't find a job in 2 years, you're off the program. You have to file a minimum of 5 applications per week THAT YOU ARE QUALIFIED TO FILL. Can't fill out an application for CEO if you don't qualify. Some people need help and I believe in HELP, NOT LIFE SUPPORT! I grew up in a poor environment, left it for the military, got an education in the process, got out and now make a very good living. It is all about DESIRE. If you want out, you'll get out. If you want to be a leech all your life, that is what you will be.

    July 5, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. Frankie

    Consider this: The Tea Party folks only started this debt rant when a biracial man became President. Where were they when lily white Bush was racking up the debt?

    July 5, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  19. JoshuaM

    650,000 Americans gave up on the American Dream last month. Debt has gone up over 4 trillion since Democrats became the majority in Jan 07', over 8 million jobs lost, and Communist and Socialist countries are admitting the government spending has failed. California, New Jersey, Greece, Spain, etc. have all proven Obamas' agenda will fail. The economy peaked in Jan 2007 and has gone nothing but down since the liberals took over. Facts, liberals are your worse nightmare.

    July 5, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  20. Hendrik

    Oh boy, the tea baggers are at it again. When the elections are over, the Repukes will put the baggers on ice again and trot out the next group, probably the lunatic evangelicals. Won't be difficult since they are the same people, just dressed differently.

    July 5, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  21. Ray E. (Georgia)

    The National Debt, now over 13 trillion dollars has been growing over the last 100 years. But it is the 10 to 20 percent un employment that is more pressing. The Tea Party is just expressing the problem.

    When the money runs out the government will just say too bad and that's it. YOU had better start thinking for yourself.

    Now the Liberal's have been spending to get everyone off Welfare for the last 45 years but the problem isn't any better and may be worse.

    So I have to ask, what happened? You can listen to the message of the Tea Party or stick you head in the sand.

    July 5, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. GBA!!!

    @vwrtb July 5th, 2010 12:17 pm ET
    And 90% of real working Americans find the tea party the most serious threat!***YOU ARE SO RIGHT!!!

    July 5, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  23. Karen

    Seriously, people that STILL think Tea Partiers are out of the mainstream, nutjobs do not have a clue. They have not taken the time to really know what they are talking about. It is those who only tune into MSNBC or other liberal media outlets that portray Tea Partiers as loons. If those of you who only choose to Bash the tea party, really wanted to be educated on the issues and offered a viable debate instead of listening to the likes of Olberman, go right ahead and keep minimizing the Importance of the Tea party, We will see in November.

    July 5, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. Donkey Party

    To Denny – The Tea Party movement is the most bought and paid for movement in history. There is absolutely nothing "grass-roots" about them.

    To Pam – That is a flat out lie. In fact, any chart not found on "Fixed" News shows positive gains in all aspects of the economy ever since President Obama too office.

    You both obviously have computers, educate yourselves instead of showcasing your ignorance here.

    July 5, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. D. Tree

    Holy moly, where were these "concerned" citizens when Bush put us into debt with trillions in tax breaks for his rich friends?

    July 5, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
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