THE LATEST
« »

Search Archives:

Custom Search

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Polls Find Significant Percentage are Against Things

Earlier this month, Gallup released a poll that they said showed that the "Tea Partiers" were pretty mainstream. Gallup found that they were overwhelmingly white (79%), largely conservative (70%), and even include a few Democrats (8%). The rightwing blogosphere went nuts with this poll, saying that it showed they weren't some fringe group of whackos -- they were a mainstream group of whackos. But, when teabaggers wrote in to Gallup Editor in Chief Frank Newport for an "Ask Frank" video, they didn't quite get the answers they would've liked... Although Newport tried like hell to tell them what they wanted to hear.



My favorite part is when Frank says that the difference between the percentage of blacks in the Tea Party and the percentage of blacks in the general population is "not huge." Breaking out the super high tech calculator that I reserve for such advanced and complex calculations, I see that 6% is about half of 11%. I'm not sure how this qualifies as "not huge." Seems to me a 46-point gap can be described as a pretty huge gap. If you won an election by that percentage, it'd be an unprecedented landslide.





Another problem with Gallup's poll was that it asked about party affiliation, but not voting patterns. Here in Wisconsin, we have an open primary system, where you don't have to register a party to vote. You just go in and vote on whatever party's ballot suits you in the primary. As a result, I can claim with 100%, absolute, lie-detector-proof honesty that I'm an Independent. I don't belong to either party. That said, I've never voted outside the Democratic primary in my life. Am I a Democrat? Am I an Independent? Given the situation in my state -- along with that of 16 other states -- the question is actually meaningless. Or, at least, not very informative. And, in any state, you could honestly claim to be Independent if you've only voted in the general election.

A new CBS News/New York Times poll gives us a better look at who tea partiers are politically:

Poll graphic


Not quite middle of the road, is it? 66% are reliably Republican voters, 91% have voted Republican, only 30% vote Democrat even half the time, and a mere 5% are reliably dem. Keep in mind, this isn't how they plan to vote in November, this is how they have voted. In an America where a Democratic President won the last election by a pretty healthy margin -- an election where the party also expanded its majority in the House and the Senate -- this is in no way reflective of the population at large. A mainstream, nonpartisan movement? My ass.

And CBS's demographic numbers are wildly different from Gallup's; this poll has them 89% white and 1% black. I don't think that either poll is necessarily wrong, I think the movement itself is in flux, with people identifying or not identifying with them based on the news of the day. I have yet to see two polls in general agreement on the teabaggers' demographics.

There are some big surprises that back up my theory buried in CBS's numbers. For example, this tidbit gleaned from the findings by Raw Story:

If Sarah Palin still had any plans to run for president, now might be an ideal time to call them off.

A large majority of Americans already consider her unqualified. But now even a considerable plurality of Tea Partiers, her political epicenter, deem her unfit for the job, according to a national New York Times/CBS poll [PDF] released Thursday.


47% of self-identified teabaggers think she's unqualified, while only 40% say the opposite. Not quite what we've been told or would even expect. This is definitely not the FOX News-driven narrative we've been getting from most of the media.

And the Tea Party is holding a big tax day rally today, which makes this tidbit from CBS itself more than a little interesting:

As Tea Partiers gather for today's rally in Boston, home of the original Tea Party protest in 1773, 42 percent of Tea Party supporters think the amount of income taxes they'll pay this year is unfair, according to a new CBS News/ New York Times poll.

Yet while some say the Tea Party stands for "Taxed Enough Already," most Tea Party supporters - 52 percent - say their taxes are fair, the poll shows. Just under one in five Americans say they support the Tea Party movement.


OK, now things are just getting strange. The majority are OK with their taxes, most think Sarah Palin isn't qualified to be president... Are we sure these people are really teabaggers? I'm kind of starting to think "no" -- right wing demographics aside. I think a lot of conservative people say they support the movement, without really having all that clear an idea what it stands for. As people do with a presidential candidate, these self-described Tea Party supporters are projecting what they want to stand for onto the movement -- regardless of whether or not this is actually true.

Further, people don't vote for things, they vote against things. If the Tea Party had a slogan, that slogan would be "We're against things! Grrrr!!" Got something about government you don't like? Welcome to the Tea Party. They aren't actually for anything. They offer no ideas, have no alternative solutions... In short, the leadership very carefully avoids going out on a limb on anything. Once you start offering concrete solutions, you start losing people through disagreement on specifics. Keep it all up in the air and concentrate on what you're against and you can keep people on your side until they get bored with the whole outrage thing.

My guess is that the reason pollsters are having such a hard time tracking who is and isn't a Tea Party member is because even the supporters don't actually know.

-Wisco


Get updates via Twitter


7 comments:

Steven Marty Grant said...

A couple things continue to strike me about the lefts obsession with Sarah and Tea Partiers:
1) If this is nothing but a bunch of fringe wingnuts as you call them, then why don’t you just ignore them and let the movement fade into obscurity.
2) Sarah Palin is at best a hairdo and a decent rack and at worst she is a hairdo, a decent rack and some uninformed opinions. The poll question should be why do you hate her so much, she is about as dangerous as the drunk aunt at a wedding?
As for taxes, well of course 52% are okay with what they pay, over 50% of the population receives more in government benefits than they pay in taxes. The one in five figure fits nicely with the top 20% of wage earners that carry 80% of the tax burden (your welcome by the way).

You are never going to see me waiving a placard in DuPont Circle but that does not mean that I am okay with the yearly butt surfing I get from the IRS. Most progressives seem to be in favor of me paying more in taxes as long as they can reap the benefits.

Wisco said...

If you look at the specifics of the polling data, you see that the 20% that are teabaggers aren't the twenty percent who pay the highest tax rates.

This interested me:

Most progressives seem to be in favor of me paying more in taxes as long as they can reap the benefits.

Well duh. As I noted in the post, I live in Wisconsin -- a pretty high tax state. But I'm not getting nickled and dimed every time I turn around. We have no toll roads, I don't pay for garbage pickup, hunting and fishing licenses for residents are dirt cheap, I have free public concerts on the Capitol Square once a week from the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the yearly state parks permit is practically free, the local zoo is free, we cover low income people's, seniors', and childrens' health insurance through something called "Badgercare," crime is low, employment is higher than average, and earnings are higher than average. In short, I'm paying not really paying higher taxes, I'm just not paying hidden and non-progressive taxes in the form of fees.

It's an absolute hell here, lemme tell ya.

Anonymous said...

I live in Wisconsin -- a pretty high tax state. But I'm not getting nickled and dimed every time I turn around

Hey Wisco, sorry to hi-jack the thread, but as a fellow Wisconsinite I'd like to hear your thoughts on a potential Scott Walker governorship. I think the average person will still have high taxes AND get nickled and dimed to death and Walker can gut every social service budget in the name of "fiscal conservation". He scares the living hell out of me.

Anonymous said...

The Tea Partiers are united in their opposition to having a dark-skinned dude in the White House.

Wisco said...

Hey Wisco, sorry to hi-jack the thread, but as a fellow Wisconsinite I'd like to hear your thoughts on a potential Scott Walker governorship. I think the average person will still have high taxes AND get nickled and dimed to death and Walker can gut every social service budget in the name of "fiscal conservation". He scares the living hell out of me.

I think you're right. It's amazing to me that Walker's the most serious Republican candidate when his mismanagement of Milwaukee County drove it to near-bankruptcy.

He's a dangerous borrow and spend type, who thinks you can have all the money you want while cutting taxes.

M said...

"Most progressives seem to be in favor of me paying more in taxes as long as they can reap the benefits."

I'm totally in favor of the "yearly butt surfing" you endure.

Is there a video of that available, or something?

You have to find better loop holes to ease the burden of propping up the functions of government and society as a member of The League, no, Legion, no, I think I like League better, The League Of Extraordinary Taxpayers!

Taxes are in the Constitution. Where else are you going to get such bang for your buck at your tax rate?

It's nice to meet a taxpayer, though.

Good job. Keep up the good work. You make it all possible.

Three cheers for taxpayers!

Steven Marty Grant said...

Wisco,

Based on the numbers I am seeing Wisconsin’s tax rate is right at the national average with a poverty rate that is well below the national average. That is a nice combination for you, more tax payers and fewer drains on the revenue pool. New Yorkers on the other hand pay almost $2,500 a year more per person in taxes and with a high poverty level we pay more and get less. With state’s rights rapidly disappearing under the weight of federal mandates, isn’t it time for all those below average tax states to start paying more?

M,

Excuse me for feeling a little screwed by a system that punishes achievement. I have no problem with paying taxes, I have a problem with paying 10 times the average. Am I getting ten times the bang for my buck? We are dangerously close to reaching a tipping point. The number of net tax payers vs. net revenue drainers is almost 50%. When that number grows to 51% who do you think the politicians will serve? It’s not their money that they are giving away so why wouldn’t they keep voting my taxes up and increasing the benefits for the 51%