Reid: 'Country doesn't care much about the Tea Party,' cites new CNN poll
March 30th, 2011
04:24 PM ET
9 years ago

Reid: 'Country doesn't care much about the Tea Party,' cites new CNN poll

Washington (CNN) – Citing a fresh CNN poll, the most powerful man in the Senate made some bold declarations about the Tea Party Wednesday: that the "country doesn't care much about the Tea Party," and that the Republican Party should not shackle itself to the conservative movement's demands regarding cuts to the federal budget.

House Speaker John Boehner is "getting a lot of pressure from the Tea Party folks," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said from the Senate floor.

Reid also said: "The people who care about the Tea Party are a very small number who care about them positively," adding, "Those who care about them negatively is very high – more than 50-percent."

Though his reference was not exactly accurate, Reid was pointing to numbers found in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday morning.

It shows that 32 percent of the public has a favorable view of the Tea Party movement – down five points since December – while 47 percent have an unfavorable view, up four points from December.

"The Tea Party's unpopularity continues to grow," Reid said. "Because the American people sees how unreasonable they are. So let me reiterate my hope that the Republican leadership recognizes they can't continue to be pulled to the right by the radical, unrealistic, unreasonable…faction: the Tea Party."

"If people want to move the country forward, they can't let the Tea Party call the shots," Reid said.

What Reid did not mention is that the Tea Party's unfavorable ratings somewhat mirror those for the Democratic and Republican parties.

CNN contacted leaders of three prominent Tea Party groups - the Tea Party Express, the Tea Party Nation, and the Tea Party Patriots – but did not receive a response.

The CNN poll, and Reid's use of its numbers, comes as the clock ticks toward a possible government shutdown at the end of next week and concurrent negotiations to avoid it.

Democratic and Republican leaders have hit an impasse over how to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year that ends September 30. Lawmakers have passed two or three week funding extensions for the past two months.

While mentioning the House passed spending proposal that included $61 billion in cuts, House Speaker John Boehner told reporters on Wednesday, "It's time for Senate Democrats to pass a bill. The House has passed our bill and it's been nearly 40 days."

"Now the Senate says, 'We have a plan,'" Boehner added. "Well great. Pass the damn thing! Alright? And send it over here and let's have real negotiations."

Democrats have blasted the Republican spending cut proposal as too deep. As they make their case publicly, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate was caught in a candid moment pushing another word.

On a conference call, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, instructed senators from his party to describe GOP cuts as "extreme" and to blame the Tea Party for essentially holding Boehner hostage over the budget. Schumer was unaware that reporters were listening in on the conference call.

Though Republicans have blasted Schumer's comments as political brinksmanship, his words may ring true to some.

Tea Party groups, and their supporters, have recently threatened that GOP lawmakers should push for even larger spending cuts – or possibly face electoral challenges in 2012. And on Thursday, one of the largest of the groups – the Tea Party Patriots – will stage a Capitol Hill rally.

"Tell them: you want the full $100 billion in cuts they promised," the Patriots told its supporters on its website.

"We need bold leadership and we need it now."

–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: CNN poll • Harry Reid
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. ConservaFascists/FUBAR

    Sen. Reid is absolutely correct. The Tea Party's "My way or highway" attitude is not going to get things done and will eventually lead to a government shutdown. John Boehner brought this on himself. He has absolutely no control over his caucus.

    March 30, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. Sam

    Though I am not a big fan of Reid, I do agree with his assessment. Tea Party is a big bunch of big talking, ignorant bullies whose day has come and gone.

    March 30, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. JWG

    Reid sounds like the unpopular kid in school making fun of another kid for being unpopular.

    March 30, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Reid is a pretty pathetic excuse for a representative of the people.

    March 30, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. DemoCommunists for a Better Way - Steal the Wealth, Bankrupt America

    Stupid, stupid Harry Reid. Can't believe the voters of Nevada put this clown back in office. He'll take them serious when they turn him into the minority leader of the Senate just like they did Pelosi. It can't happen soon enough!

    March 30, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Polls are nice, aren't they?

    Boo-Hoo is getting pressure from a lot of sources: his tanning salon for hogging up the tanning booths. His bartender wants the tab paid in full in cash not Congress chips. And last but not least, pressure from those that stupidly put him in office. They want jobs, and favors repaid and pronto!

    Us regular folks just want the jobs that he promised he'd get for middle America. We are not badgering him for more tax-loopholes or incentives for the rich, which is what he's been delivering. We just want jobs.

    You think he can withstand the pressure of non-deliverance on his promises, or will he be carried off in hysterics?

    March 30, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. CaliforniaBC

    Boehner, the Senate will pass a bill that comes from the House WHEN, and only when, it sends one that's ACTUALLY realistic and does not threaten the growing economic recovery. He needs to start listening to economists other than those from the heritage foundation and realize that we need a combination of cuts AND tax increases like there were in the 1990's. He needs to come to terms with the fact that the Republicans' demand of continued tax cuts for the rich do not work, are unwarranted and if they were so golden then why did they do nothing to stem the tide of the economic crisis.

    Bottom line: the GOP needs to come to grips with reality and stop pushing legislation that has no chance of passing due to its adherence to a far-right ideology that has not worked in the past and will not work now.

    March 30, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. ehwilson429

    how about mandatory retirement age foir all these 70 and eighty year old members of Congress.
    starting with Harry "CAN'T' Reid and his lobbist sons.

    March 30, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    Harry must have forgotten about the November shellacking. The majority of Americans are concerned about runaway and ineffective government spending at the levels it has reached since 2008. Will he ever get on board? Apparently not.

    March 30, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. Jack

    This is not a country of extremes. Most are in the middle. Some a little left, some a little right. We all meet somewhere inthe middle.

    March 30, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. chris henson

    wow, i guess we don't care much about the Democratic Party either.

    March 30, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. voter

    If he doesn't think the TEA party matters, what is his excuse for ignoring the voters of 2010? Oh, that's right, he doesn't listen to anyone that disagrees with him...Remember the health care law and how he ignored the documented majority. Back then, he claimed the polls were of no meaning. Now, since this one tells him what he wants to hear, it mystically has significance.

    March 30, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  13. Obama 2012

    Of course no one cares about them. They seemed legitimate at the onset talking about smaller government. But when their smaller government actually meant overreaching government on social issues, people saw them for who they are. Racist homophobic religious baters. Peace out!

    March 30, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. LOL

    What Mr. Reid fails to notice, is that the Tea Party is the silent majority...The Liberal mantra is to label anyone who disagrees as either racist/etreme/radical. It's so easy to see. Nevada please kick this loser out of office.

    March 30, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. Rick James B----

    The Tea Party is only a threat to the GOP. Tea Party member never have or never will vote for a democrat under any circumatances ever! Hell the GOP shouldn't cave in to the Tea Party, it's not like they'll vote democrat, they will consistantly vote republican, so why cater to a group that is going to vote for you anyways. GOP needs to focus on the Independent vote.

    March 30, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. Tanbiker2

    Anything that hurts the Tea Party is good for America.

    March 30, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. Molly Weasley

    Sounds like the country is finally realizing what the tea party represents, and what it has always represented - selfishness. I got mine, including government-run health care like Medicare and Social Security payments, and I don't want to part with a penny to help anyone else.

    I think the country would like a do-over for the 2010 election.

    March 30, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. Rob

    How about 100% of sane people don't care much for Harry Reid? Those who support this cretin are socialists, and should not be in this country.

    BTW, what's with bashing the TEA party? So now wanting to have the Federal Gov be financially responsible and to live within its means and to NOT tax us to death is considered "extreme?"

    According to the socialists, if you're not being taxed to the point that you work to support the Gov, then you're not being taxed enough. When did our country go from having a Gov that worked for us, to us working for the Gov?

    March 30, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. Amanda

    Really – An ultra liberal politican cites an ultra liberal news media's self serving poll and that's news??? If they're not scared of the tea party, stop talking about it!!! (But I have some news for Dirty Harry, he better be scared! The tea party express is still gaining steam!!)

    March 30, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. LooneyBin

    The Tea Party are just low-cost patsies for the advancement of the Koch brothers' agenda to corporatize and own all of America. In chess, you always let the pawns get taken down first.

    March 30, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  21. Paul, MN

    Voters were so Gung-ho to jump on the Republican bandwagon after drinking propaganda filled "Tea" in November, you know, "we don't want no stinking Obama socialism". That is, until they found out that cuts in their middle class valued benefits, is what the republicans were really referring to. Too late now, isn't it ?
    Americans are too fickle and mired in their own ignorance and prejudice to vote their own interests.
    Fool me once, . . . twice . . .hundreds of times, shame on me.

    March 30, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. John N Florida

    $100 billion. Fine. Pull all the troops out of the Middle East. Close down every overseas base. Pare the military down so that it is comparable to what our Allies field.
    Repeal the Bush Tax cuts in TOTAL. I'll gladly pay 4% more if it will stabilize the budget.
    Put a 10% SurTax on until the wars have been paid for. My grand kids didn't vote for Bush's Follies. They shouldn't have to pay for it.
    We let him lead us down that primrose path strewn with lies. WE should foot the bill.

    March 30, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. Dave

    The Tea Party is a group of libertarians, and conservatives. It is not going to be a major force, but it will become hurt the GOP at some point... whether its now or later. The Repubs who champion the Tea Party support now, will never get elected on a national level. If they reject the Tea Party mandate, they will break off to form their own third party that will draw down their support. The mainstream Republican who is willing to compromise and work with opponents will be extinct unfortunately

    March 30, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. Craig

    CNN reports this poll, but ignores the Quinnipiac poll on Obama. Hmm... wonder why CNN is irrelevant!

    March 30, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  25. janetlaw

    Sigh. The Tea Party does NOT understand a simple concept. It takes a COMMUNITY to raise those at the bottom and have a decent COMMUNITY to live in for ALL. So, lower/no taxes, huh? Who will keep your parks clean? Who will pick up the trash on the roads? Who is going to put the fire out at your house? Who will fix the potholes? Who will feed the hungry? Who will pay for YOUR health care when you have a catastrophic illness and cannot afford it? THAT is why we pay taxes. Duh.

    March 30, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
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