October 11th, 2010
01:56 PM ET
12 years ago

Tea Party fuels Republican edge in enthusiasm

Washington (CNN) - As Election Day gets closer, the "enthusiasm gap" is getting clearer.

A new poll from the Washington Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University finds a huge disparity when it comes to which voters are motivated to vote in upcoming midterm elections.

According to the poll, 74 percent of self-described Tea Party supporters are "very enthusiastic" about voting in the elections. Contrast that with just 43 percent of Democrats and 57 of Republicans who say the same.

Late last week, a separate CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey found only a third of Democrats are enthusiastic about voting. That's good news for Republicans. Time and again, the Tea Party movement has pushed the most conservative candidates to victory in Republican primaries.

With the enthusiasm gap on their side, GOP leaders are confident these Tea Party Republicans can win in general elections as well. "Well, I don't see them [polls] closing on the Democratic side. ... You look at the enthusiasm gap, much stronger on the Republican side, even than it was in 1994, much stronger on independent voters voting for Republicans, stronger than 1994," said California republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

Democrats are warning their base voters that a new, more conservative Republican Congress will block the president's agenda.

Brushing off the "enthusiasm gap," Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell told CNN, "Democratic voters aren't as wildly enthusiastic as the tea partiers are and there's no question about that. But remember, there's an age-old adage that a tepid vote counts the same as a wildly enthusiastic vote."

Not only are Democrats not as enthusiastic as Republicans, they're also not quite as unified. In races all over the country, conservative Democrats are distancing themselves from their own party leaders including the president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Not a problem, say Democratic leaders. "There are issues where they [Democrats] stood with the speaker and the president, and there are issues where they opposed the speaker and the president. That's their job," said Maryland Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen.

On the Republican side "you have this ideological purity test, and it's being moved even farther to the right by the Tea Party candidates," Van Hollen said.

Filed under: 2010 • Polls • Tea Party movement
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Jilli

    "Tea party" my heinie, these are just the same childish sore loser republicans that start screeching every time there's a Democrat in the white house. Call a spade a spade, would ya', they're not fooling anyone.

    October 11, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. Bender

    All the Dems do now is lie and call everyone not in line with their socialist agenda racist and bigoted.So now they will pay the price for being losers.His next two years he will be a lame duck Prez.

    October 11, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. bbrooker

    I do have a difficult time comprehending why Dems aren't enthusiastic about voting and beating back the Dark Age book burners that stand to win seats. Well, I'm enthusiastic about voting all Dem. At least my conscious will be clear that I did what I could before I'm forced to leave Palin, U.S.A.

    October 11, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. ConstitutionalPatriot

    I don't see how actually following the Constitution moves a party to the right. I would say it would move the GOP to the center on many issues like these unconstitutional undeclared wars, fiscal sanity and balanced budgets, and realizing that running a global military empire we cannot afford is not in the Constitution. There are many issues where a constitutional approach could be considered what has come to be considered a left wing idea. I approach the current situation with caution, giving the congress back to the GOP and slamming the brakes on the corporatist Obama agenda is essential. From there we must be cautious because ideologues like Boehner are so focused on continuing the manufactured war on terror. I'm not afraid of people with antiquated russian weapons in the desert half a world away. It's a manufactured threat that came out of a time old technique used by tyrants. It's called a false flag attack, we used it to go into Vietnam and we used it to start this so called war on terror.

    October 11, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. Dean

    Democrats are warning their base voters that a new, more conservative Republican Congress will block the president's agenda. .....................................Guess what. More and more people of all parties are thinking that Obama's agenda needs to be blocked.

    October 11, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. stufit

    Again, Democrats are warning that a Republican victory will block the presidents agenda. I think even a lot of real Democrats (not the liberals) are realizing that the agenda needs to be blocked and Obama is what happens when the media, unions and other whackos choose a candidate rather than honest, hardworking taxpayers.

    October 11, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. JonDie

    The Tea Party is a group of Republicans who want to create as much anarchy as possible so that Republicans can make political gains. Nothing more, nothing less. Their 18th century mentality is idiotic.

    October 11, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. King

    These conservative dems better know what they are doing theyve picked a bad time to devide the parties especially when the repugs are purifying all the weeklings from theirs.

    October 11, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. ST

    Funny with the polls which you are throwing to us everyday. One has to ask these percentage are of how many people? What we understand Tea Party is a small fraction of the entire nation voters!

    October 11, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. Ben in Texas

    Yeah, the Repugnants are spending a few hundred million dollars from Saudi Arabia, Brunei, China, Russia and who knows where else to create this enthusiasm for their teabagger candidates. I wonder how Americans will feel when it dawns on them that they have been bought by foreigners and sold down the river? How will they feel about an Extreme Court that handed the keys to our democracy to foreigners? The same people who rail against poor folks trying to get here for a better life are the ones who gladly take the money of rich foreigners in exchange for our constitutional rights, won by generations of patriots.

    When the smoke clears, we'll find out what it means to have sold our country out to foreign interests. When those Repugnants prove to be serving Chinese leaders and not American voters, we shouldn't be surprised.

    October 11, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans voted 100% with GWB which is opposite of what Democrats do which means Republicans in control is having GWB policies back and Karl Rove is making sure that does happen. How could Americans ever forgive Bush/Cheney/Rove for all that our American soldiers have given based on their lies.

    October 11, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. Can't We All Just Get Along?

    Enthusiasm? Well, lynch mobs do seem to get 'enthusiastic' in their mob-ruled mentality, don't they?

    October 11, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  13. barry

    Bye Bye little Dems. You didn't listen to the American People.

    October 11, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. Corey Feldman

    there is not a difference. They are both funded by fascist corporate billionaires

    October 11, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. pc

    this poll may be correct but as a democrat that is not very happy with congress right now, i just voted democrat all the way in my state that offers early voting. dems may be disapointing to most of us this term but given the alternative, i would rather see the devil himself run government than to give our country over to such fringe lunatics that call themselves consevative republicans. i have never seen such ignorance coming from the right that think that dumbing down america is the right way to go.i for one don't want to take our country back a hundred years,unlike the palins,becks, hannity's sheep an oh my god....sharon angle?????!!

    October 11, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. T'SAH from Virginia

    "According to the poll, 74 percent of self-described Tea Party supporters are "very enthusiastic" about voting in the elections. Contrast that with just 43 percent of Democrats and 57 of Republicans who say the same."

    What's the difference between Tea Party and RepubliCAN'Ts? Who are the Tea Party people voting for – Democrats or Republicans? 74 percent of EXTREMISM stands for WHAT??

    I am sick of CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRATS distancing themselves. Are the MODERATE RepubliCAN'Ts distancing themselves from the Republican candidates that are running – the EXTREME right – NO?? The RepubliCAN'Ts are using the TEA PARTY to do their DIRTY WORK while they sit back – keep their mouth shut – and rake in the votes!!!

    In the meantime, the so-call CONSERVATIVE Democrats want to be RepubliCAN'Ts too!! I really HOPE they LOSE no matter what it cost us!!!! And these so-call CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRATS are mostly in Red States anyway – so be it!!

    Maybe a THIRD PARTY is needed for sure – place all of the MODERATE Republicans and CONSERVATIVE Democrats in it. The Tea Party will NEVER be a third party so they can just FORGET THAT!!! The Independents will NEVER be a third party also because they are FLIP-FLOPPERS!!!

    This is T’SAH from Virginia – fed up “Conservative Democrats” and wish they distance themselves far enough until they fall off the planet!!! I approve this ‘salty’ message!!

    October 11, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. D. Bunker

    The ignorance and fear-filled eatards are a VERY small portion of the electorate, yet are well-funded by faceless billionaire globalists who seek an agenda that is anti-American. Sane and rational Americans recognize this, and also know we cannot allow them to dictate the political future of America. Get out and vote, and make sure your sane friends, family, neighbors and co-workers do as well. Remember: Friends don't let friends vote GOBP.

    October 11, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. Sherri W.W.

    Much as I hate it and KNOW ITS WAY WRONG~I do believe the Republicans/Tea Party will gain many places in the Nov.elections~and I really think maybe that is the ONLY way to STOP this absolute nonsense!~its the old saying~O~K BUT "Be careful what you wish for!"These candidates will do NOTHING FOR THE BOTTOM 3% of Americans,and in some cases of the very EXTREME candidates~they would be DANGEROUS~IF~they could get any power~but thats not likely~they are being used just like voters are,to further G.O.P.agenda.However,electing them might be what it takes for the general public to see how FOOLISH THEY`ve been!~and,yes,the way some are treating Pres.O,IS OUTRAGEOUS~freedom is good but some of these folks NEED to be put in JAIL!This SHOULD NOT be allowed for the good of the Country!

    October 11, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  19. Orlando Patriot

    The Tea Party in INCREDIBLY energized!! We are tired of politicians not carrying what the people want (doesn't the preamble to the Constitution start off with "We the People"?). We are tired of government getting bigger and bigger and just making things more complicated. We are tired of politicians meeting behind closed doors. We are tired of politicians like Nancy Pelosi telling us we must "pass the bill so we can find out what's in it". We are tired of government spending money we DON'T HAVE needlessly. We are tired of government telling us we must pay more in taxes so they can CONTINUE to spend it needlessly. We are tired of government acting like "Robin Hood" believing it is acceptable to take MY money and give it to someone else who did not WORK FOR IT!! We are tired of our government promising all kinds of benefits like Social Security under the misperception that a person is "saving" for their retirement when in fact it is the BIGGEST Ponzi Scheme in history and is collapsing before our very eyes (BTW, when Social Security was started the intelligent ones were predicting that it could not last more than two generations-well, the "third" generation is getting ready to retire and guess what??) In summary, WE ARE TIRED OF IT!! Our country is on the verge of collapse but our government continues to think they can spend money they DON'T HAVE!! You liberals can criticize us all you want to but most rational and sane individuals know this current trend won't last. We are energized and ready to take back our country!!

    October 11, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. D. Bunker

    More proof the teatards are certifiably nuts: You can't support tax cuts for the ultrarich AND claim to be concerned about the deficit as the former increases the latter.

    October 11, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |