Poll Shows Support for Tea Party Movement Continues to Grow

By | April 22, 2010 | 7:00 PM EDT

'Don't Tread on Me' flags were a popular choice at the Tea Party Tax Party on Thursday, Apr. 15, in Washington, D.C. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – A new Rasmussen Report survey conducted on the eve of the Tea Party movement’s first anniversary found that U.S. voters who self-identify as part of the Tea Party movement jumped eight points since the previous month. April 15, 2010 marked the one-year anniversary of the movement, which has been a lightning rod for political controversy since its inception.
In March 2010, 16 percent of American voters surveyed identified themselves as Tea Partiers. That number leapt to 24 percent in the most recent poll with another 10 percent saying they are not part of the movement but have close friends or family who are.
Of those surveyed, 55 percent said they are not part of the movement or do not have any ties to the Tea Party, while 11 percent said they are unsure.
The rise in Tea Party support comes as more voters than ever – 58 percent – favor the repeal of Obama’s healthcare reform. Those surveyed say they are convinced that the so-called reform will require all Americans to pay higher taxes to fund the program at a time when 66 percent of voters believe that we are already overtaxed by the government.
The largest discrepancy found in the report was the disparity between how the political class, or political elite, views the movement versus that of mainstream voters. Not surprisingly, 98 percent of the political elite have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party movement. 
Conversely, 58 percent of mainstream voters held a favorable opinion of Tea Partiers. It should be noted only four percent of American voters support the Political Class over the people.
When broken down into political parties: 42 percent of Republicans say they are members of the Tea Party compared to 24 percent of independents and just nine percent of Democrats.
In numbers that remain virtually unchanged sine March, voters are still divided on their overall perception of the movement: 40 percent have a favorable opinion of the Tea Parties, while 42 percent view them unfavorably. Eighteen percent said they were undecided on the movement.  
Despite the jump in people who say they are part of the Tea Party from March until April, views of the movement have declined slightly over the past year. Last year, days after the first Tea Parties were launched, 51 percent viewed them favorably, and of those, 32 percent viewed them very favorably.
Seventy percent of Republicans have a positive view of the Tea Parties, and 71 percent of Democrats do not. Unaffiliated voters are almost evenly divided on their views.
When it comes to the issues, 48 percent of voters say the average Tea Party member’s views more closely mimic their own rather than those of President Obama. Forty- four percent believe the president’s views are closer to their own.
When asked who has a better understanding of the issues facing America today, 52 percent said the average Tea Party member is better informed than the average member of Congress.
Just over 33 percent of those queried believed the Republicans and Democrats are so much alike that a new political party is needed to represent the American people; 47 percent of voters surveyed disagree.
If the Tea Party were to organize a political party, the survey shows this would give the election to the Democrat by splitting the votes between the Republican and Tea Party candidate: 34 percent would vote for the Democrat in a three-way congressional race, while 27 percent would vote for the Republican and 21 percent for the Tea Party candidate.
The Rasmussen Report national survey was conducted between April 10 -11 and consisted of 1,000 likely voters. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus two percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.