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. Ann

    The only reason that the Tea Party folks are pushing for all of these spending cuts is because they want to defund programs that do not fit in with their ideology. This is all about getting at the Democratic base and not about "fiscal responsibility" They really don't give a heck about the debt and the defecit and I have not idea who are they trying to kid.

    March 30, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Martin

    The Republican party should kick out of caucus anyone who claims to be a member of the "Tea Party" and force them to run as ( T ), not on the backs of Republicans.

    If they want their own party, let them have it. Let's see how they do without the backing of Republicans.

    March 30, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The tea party represents a very small fraction of Americans who want to overthrow the Government and completely ignore the majority who don't protest with them. The tea party people have proven in words and action they have no respect or tolerance for those of us who are of a different party, religion, race, etc. and that's how they get away with saying they aren't a political party because they know they can't put forth this mess as a political party.

    March 30, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. Martin

    If John Boehner is really feeling the pressure, he should fight back, and have the tea partiers all removed from caucus, but I doubt he will do anything at all.

    John Boehner really does appear to be completely ineffective as Speaker of The House.

    March 30, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. PDXSerric

    You know what? I've changed my mind... let them shut down government. For a good year or so. And when all public services come to a screeching halt and the country falls into another economic criss, Maybe we can reevaulate the need for controlled government.

    March 30, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. diane

    I agree with Henry Reid I do not think much of the Tea Party

    March 30, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. The reality is...

    How many people were polled, 1,0000 something? And where did the polling take place? Left coast? Come on, Reid, get with the times; people are fed up with government spending beyond our means. For every 1 Tea Party member there are at least 100 who support their platform. A silent majority because they are busy working and paying taxes. You won your seat by a narrow margin; keep up your shenanigans and you'll be out of your taxpayer funded job.

    March 30, 2011 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. Ryche

    Ya... the Tea Party are a bunch of wackos... Why in the world would anyone ever want the defecit lowered... Why would anyone ever want our debt to be lowered.. i mean we can just keep spending and spending right... ? with no consequences, right? Oh that's right, we can just tax the rich and give to the poor... We can just play peter pan... But what happens when you tax a business.. Does that business than turn around and just up the price of their product..? Yes, yes they do... which for the stupid people would mean you'd pay more for a light bulb, more for a loaf of bread... But im sure that escapes most people on these boards... Unintended consequences isn't even in the liberal vocabulary... As long as you tax the rich, everything will be rainbows and butterflies.. YAY.. BTW reid, you old stupid dolt.. Obviously if the democrats numbers are lower than the tea party, i guess the country doesn't care much for your sorry butt either...

    March 30, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |

    Making cuts in education funding is asinine. No wonder this country is full of dummies.

    March 30, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. kat

    You old fool, don't you know who YOU work For? It's us... mainstream America, Just because the Unions and the goofy people of Nv. keep re-electing you doesn't mean you have any common sense. You should just go away and take Pelosi and BHO with you. You clowns are ruining this once great country.

    March 30, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. Darko

    Yes, lets all place the future of our govt spending plans on a fresh CNN poll about the Tea Party.

    Next week Harry will whip out the old Magic Eight Ball for clairvoyance.

    March 30, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  12. Angus001

    Reid is an icon of the democrat party. Old, spiteful, and willing to show his belittling of others. The ruling class at its best.

    March 30, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. V in Chicago

    Reid is an idiot. That said, the Tea Party is full of morons and they should not have the upper hand in these negotiations with their radical, far right ideology. We don't need folks in government that are willing to shut it down to make their point. They act like children who stomp their foot when they don't get their way. I say it's "time out" for the Tea Party! (All the way out of Washington, is possible.)

    March 30, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. RTinKC

    Can someone from the left explain to me how 60 billion in cuts from a budget that is adding 1.4 trillion in debt per year is too deep. I would think that continuing to add over a trillion in debt each year is "radical, unrealistic and unreasonable". Hard times require hard and painful decisions. Something the democrats are unwilling to do. They couldn't even pass a budget when they had control of the House and Senate. Much less, pass a budget that addresses the shortfall. Trying to negotiate down the cuts is radical, unrealistic and unreasonable.

    March 30, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    Try calling GOPer Headquarters. They are, after all, one in the same.

    March 30, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  16. GET REAL

    The Tea Party was dead to me the moment they opened their mouths.

    March 30, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. ryan

    coming from the guy who nearly lost because of the tea party. I can see why he's out to get em.

    March 30, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. Phillip

    Reid is a bonified idiot. He can't even get out of his own way. His dismissive comments are only going to incite the Tea Party base.

    March 30, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. David S.

    This may be true about the tea party but let's not forget about glass houses, Harry. In addition, can someone please tell me how comments such as these help to move things forward?

    C'mon Harry, you can do better than this.

    March 30, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  20. Monster Zero

    Right, then I guess the propaganda press and CNNsership can finally stop with the name calling. 2012 will evidence who America is sick of and I can assure you there will be 20+ million strong to do it, here is a hint: Progressive Liberal Unionized Socialists
    When did you think that being a government employee would equate to being upper middle class?

    March 30, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  21. indydave

    The Tea Party is, for right now, louder than any other group. They are not larger, and as numerous people have observed, there is enough dissension even among self-described Tea Partiers, let alone the larger and more generally sensible undeclared libertarian bunch, about whether to focus solely on small government, or to weight that principle down with the ulterior agenda of building theocracy into government, that the movement will fall apart under its own weight sooner rather than later. Good riddance to the Dominionists,I say. The government is supposed to treat all citizens equally, and it simply can't when it starts picking one religion's doctrine to enshrine into law.

    March 30, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  22. all of america

    Harry, The country doesn't care much about what you have to say either. The people are tired of hearing you spewing your propaganda ,they don't pay much attention to you any more.

    March 30, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  23. mannie

    GO HARRY,TELL IT LIKE IT IS.....these nut jobs need to go back where they came from.they need to start telling their selves the truth.

    March 30, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  24. Livin' the good life

    Tea for 2 who?...

    March 30, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  25. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    "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"

    So the Republican/Teaparty/Taliban solution is to sponser a NASCAR truck??

    March 30, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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