Friday, March 26, 2010

Tea Party Education Levels

As support for his contention that Tea Party members were even less likely than the average white person to yell "nigger" at a black congressman, one of our anonymous readers suggested earlier this week that Tea Party members "tend to be better educated than average whites."

The latest Quinnipiac poll found the opposite: "The Tea Party movement is mostly made up of people who consider themselves Republicans," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "They are less educated but more interested in politics than the average Joe and Jane Six-Pack and are not in a traditional sense swing voters."

I'd be interested in other sources that address the question, if anyone has some. But the most interesting parts of the survey for me were the 15% of self-identified Tea Party supporters who believe that government is not doing enough, the 15% who voted for Obama, and the 4% who trust government to do the right thing most of the time. Talk about cognitive dissonance...

On a related note, the Tea Party movement has been taking some pretty bad hits this week for purportedly fomenting violence and threats, or so they've been tarred in the "lamestream media," as Sarah Palin so lamely coined today. Video of one man at a rally verbally abusing a retired engineering prof suffering from Parkinson's didn't help, although I suppose it's some consolation to Tea Partiers that the guy stated as part of his apologia that he had never before attended any protest (and never would again). The one saving grace the movement had this week was that the Tea Party organizer who stupidly posted a congressman's brother's home address on a discussion board and urged people to "pay a visit" -- leading to the family having their gas line dangerously sabotaged -- was himself black. Although it supported the accusation of fomenting violence, at least it undermined the claims of racism and of the Tea Party movement being universally lily white (the Quinnipiac poll lists the Tea Party respondents as self-identifying 88% white).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

4 percent in a poll isn't low enough for you?

And why shouldn't 15 percent have voted for Obama? Obama's a tax cutter who would never, ever socialize medicine.

6:12 AM, March 27, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Listen to the rhetoric- facts don't matter- Teabaggers (their first term for themselves) are smarter than the average bear because they say they are. Limbaugh listeners have been pushing the same line for years hoping that it will become accepted fact through repetition(like say that Super Bowl Sunday is the most dangerous domestic violence day).

6:39 AM, March 27, 2010  
Blogger QueensGuy said...

4% surely is pretty low for any response. But I'm just picturing this overlapping, clueless group of 4% who think the government should be trusted and given more responsibility for their lives, are huge fans of brewing a good oolong, and can't quite figure out why political pollsters are asking about their favorite drink.

8:24 AM, March 27, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, your musings about the Tea Party jumped made the shark before you made them. Why not have a quick review of all your posts about hateful and stupid rhetoric against the right? The blog's been around for years. If that stuff never interested you before, then we're not interested in your worries now. You're usually pretty smart and interesting, but this stuff is cliched and stupid. Now, if you want to review Obama's hateful rhetoric, which is stupid and continual, that's some fertile ground. I hear he's pretty darned smart and has authority, so surely his rhetoric is temperate and informed.

1:03 PM, March 27, 2010  
Blogger QueensGuy said...

There's a Caribbean expression called being "new faced." It means you're more interested in something just because it's new to you. Guilty as charged, I guess.

If there were a new political movement on the left that gained 13% of the electorate in the course of a year and a half, I suspect I'd be far more interested in their rhetoric than I am in commenting on the same crap Daily Kos has been repeating for what seems like 8 years now.

But maybe there's no need for you to be so defensive. I'm only interested in the details and tactics of the Tea Party movement because I so strongly agree with some of their ideas. I wish they would focus more on 4th Amendment/privacy issues that I care about, but anything that focuses on issues outside the usual two-party two-step of 30 second sound bites and manufactured outrage is all to the good.

3:38 PM, March 27, 2010  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

I'm not surprised that 15% voted for Obama. It's hard to remember how things felt in 2008, when McCain performed so awfully in the debates while Obama managed to be so many things to so many people. When the economy tanked, Obama's numbers went up and stayed up through the election. In other words, a significant portion of the electorate (maybe 5 to 10 percent?) were undecided or even leaning toward McCain until the economy collapsed, and then they switched to Obama. Clearly these were not devoted Democrats.

And it stands to reason that the millions of people who liked McCain, then switched to Obama after the economy tanked and the Republicans bailed out Wall Street, would abandon Obama when he expanded the bailouts and then decided to focus on health care instead of the economy!

After all, the Tea Party includes cowboys and hippies, rebels and Yanks!

10:29 PM, March 27, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, cause Obama never said during the campaign that it would be important to address health care.

6:07 PM, March 28, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama said a lot of contradictory things. I can imagines a set of voters thinking sure, he talks about all these huge government programs, like health care, but he wouldn't dare consider pushing them through when we're in a huge recession and a facing ruinous debt.

4:28 AM, March 29, 2010  
Blogger QueensGuy said...

Those folks would presumably get along smashingly with the folks who convinced themselves that candidate Obama saying flat-out that he's opposed to gay marriage did not mean he would oppose gay marriage once elected.

I thought this weekend gave us the clearest shot yet of his Chicago-operator side. Claiming that Republicans were being obstreperous in refusing to grant consent to his appointment of an extremely controversial appointee to the NLRB, who couldn't gain strong support even from Democrats, was way over the top. Of course, as with the gay marriage issue above, he also managed to throw the left under the bus again with his appointment of a pesticide lobbyist. That's Chicago for ya.

2:06 AM, March 30, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone think Obama opposes gay marriage? If he's not pushing for it today, it's only because he's strategizing what he can push when. You can't appear moderate if there isn't something you can toss to the "other", as Obama-ites like to say. If I were a socialist or a communist, I'd be quite happy, unless it were important to me to actually shoot people as part of my policy celebration. But if it's just a matter of policy, and not the victory dance, I can't wait three to 20 years? Obama isn't that interesting; what's interesting is that Reagan turns out to be right again, that "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."

4:36 AM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger QueensGuy said...

Obama isn't that interesting; what's interesting is that Reagan turns out to be right again, that "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."

I really wonder if anyone in the Tea Party movement ever feels self-conscious when making statements like that. I mean, worst case I can see is, yes, you're right, he's looking to take over 1/6 of the economy. Big whoop, it's already been taken over in every other industrialized country to one degree or another. It's not some death knell for all private enterprise or individual liberty.

7:31 AM, March 30, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the government runs the banks, the auto companies, the hospitals and more than half of everything else. We've already crossed a point where we're about to crash and burn because of government takeovers. Europe has been turning back from its socialism for the last decade because it was so destructive, and they only got away with what they did because they were free riding on our military. If America goes, it's over.

12:14 PM, March 30, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Europe has been turning back from its socialism"

Give me an example of a decent sized socialist state in Europe turning away from socialism because of the recession. Conservatives attack Obama for making us European socialists because they can't distinguish social democracy from socialism.

The only country going away from its socialism is Greece. And by going away from socialism, I mean selling 49 percent stakes in some public companies.

1:52 PM, July 31, 2010  
Blogger Bruce Majors said...

The Not-So-White Tea Party

Posted by David Boaz

USA Today is out with a new poll on Tea Party supporters. Near the top of both the article and the accompanying graphic is this point, also singled out by Howard Kurtz in his Washington Post report on the study:

They are overwhelmingly white and Anglo,

Not too surprising, perhaps. Economic conservatives, we hear, are more white than the national average. But wait — here’s the rest of Kurtz’s sentence:

although a scattering of Hispanics, Asian Americans and African Americans combine to make up almost one-fourth of their ranks.

“Almost one-fourth of their ranks” is “a scattering”? Sounds like a pretty good chunk to me, especially in a country that is after all still mostly white. Let’s go to the tape. The data-filled graphic says that 77 percent of Tea Party supporters are “non-Hispanic whites.” And this 2008 Census report says that the United States as a whole is 65 percent non-Hispanic white. So the Tea Party is indeed somewhat more “white” than the country at large, but not by that much. Twelve points above the national average is not “overwhelmingly white,” and 23 percent Hispanics, Asian Americans and African Americans is not “a scattering.” At a rough estimate, it represents about 14 million non-Anglo Americans who support the Tea Party movement.

How does this compare to the demographics of other movements? Strangely enough, I can’t find any real data on the demographics of the enviromental movement. Maybe pollsters and mainstream journalists don’t want to know. But here’s a report that 84 percent of the visitors to the Sierra Club website are Caucasian. Similar implication here. And here’s a story on the environmentalist movement’s desperate attempt to seem not so “overwhelmingly white.” Yet somehow journalists don’t focus on that obvious fact about the environmentalist movement.

Instead, they keep describing the Tea Party movement as “overwhelmingly white,” even when the data suggest a different conclusion.

David Boaz

3:18 PM, August 24, 2011  
Blogger Bruce Majors said...

Poll Finds Tea Party Backers More Educated
Published: April 14, 2010

Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.

They hold more conservative views on a range of issues than Republicans generally. They are also more likely to describe themselves as “very conservative” and President Obama as “very liberal.”

And while most Republicans say they are “dissatisfied” with Washington, Tea Party supporters are more likely to classify themselves as “angry.”

The Tea Party movement burst onto the scene a year ago in protest of the economic stimulus package, and its supporters have vowed to purge the Republican Party of officials they consider not sufficiently conservative and to block the Democratic agenda on the economy, the environment and health care. But the demographics and attitudes of those in the movement have been known largely anecdotally. The Times/CBS poll offers a detailed look at the profile and attitudes of those supporters.

Their responses are like the general public’s in many ways. Most describe the amount they paid in taxes this year as “fair.” Most send their children to public schools. A plurality do not think Sarah Palin is qualified to be president, and, despite their push for smaller government, they think that Social Security and Medicare are worth the cost to taxpayers. They actually are just as likely as Americans as a whole to have returned their census forms, though some conservative leaders have urged a boycott.

Tea Party supporters’ fierce animosity toward Washington, and the president in particular, is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich.

The overwhelming majority of supporters say Mr. Obama does not share the values most Americans live by and that he does not understand the problems of people like themselves. More than half say the policies of the administration favor the poor, and 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites — compared with 11 percent of the general public.

They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people.

Asked what they are angry about, Tea Party supporters offered three main concerns: the recent health care overhaul, government spending and a feeling that their opinions are not represented in Washington.

“The only way they will stop the spending is to have a revolt on their hands,” Elwin Thrasher, a 66-year-old semiretired lawyer in Florida, said in an interview after the poll. “I’m sick and tired of them wasting money and doing what our founders never intended to be done with the federal government.”

They are far more pessimistic than Americans in general about the economy. More than 90 percent of Tea Party supporters think the country is headed in the wrong direction, compared with about 60 percent of the general public. About 6 in 10 say “America’s best years are behind us” when it comes to the availability of good jobs for American workers.

Nearly 9 in 10 disapprove of the job Mr. Obama is doing over all, and about the same percentage fault his handling of major issues: health care, the economy and the federal budget deficit. Ninety-two percent believe Mr. Obama is moving the country toward socialism, an opinion shared by more than half of the general public.


3:25 PM, August 24, 2011  

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