Reports of Tea Party's Demise Greatly Exaggerated

The New York Times would have you believe that the Tea Party is a veritable terrorist organization. No one should be surprised that they've managed to generate poll numbers that seem to suggest that the Tea Party is in a state of decline:
So a New York Times/CBS News poll finds 40 percent disapprove of the Tea Party. Given how so-called "news" outlets like the Times and CBS have been mercilessly pounding on Tea Party members for over two years, is that surprising?

Frankly, it's more shocking given the negative media coverage of this group that more Americans don't disapprove of it.
No kidding.

No one can question the New York Times' commitment to excellence in Tea Party defamation. But can we trust their polling?

Let's take a discerning look at the numbers:

Question 31:

"Is your opinion of the Tea Party movement favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you heard enough about the Tea Party movement yet to have an opinion?"


Apr 2010 21%
Feb 2011 18%
Aug 2011 20%

That looks like a stable favorable opinion to me.

What about the size of the Tea Party? Any big changes there?

Question 33:

"Do you consider yourself to be a supporter of the Tea Party movement, or not?"


Apr 2010 21%
Feb 2011 18%
Aug 2011 20%

Again, essentially unchanged.

What about that 40% disapproval rate? Doesn't that prove that millions of Americans hate the Tea Party? Take the Times data with an oversized grain of skepticism.

Would you believe the latest poll results if you knew the poll included a small number of conservatives?

Take a look at these numbers:

How would you describe your views on most political matters? Generally, do you think of yourself as liberal, moderate, or conservative?

Apr 2010 Lib 21% Mod 34% Con 38%
Aug 2011 Lib 22% Mod 43% Con 32%

Note the substantial drop in the percentage of conservatives since April of 2010. Did that really happen? Gallup says no:
Americans' political ideology at the midyear point of 2011 looks similar to 2009 and 2010, with 41% self-identifying as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 21% as liberal.

If this pattern continues, 2011 will be the third straight year that conservatives significantly outnumber moderates -- the next largest ideological bloc.
The New York Times says conservatives are at 32% and dropping, Gallup puts conservatives at 41% strong.

If the NYT/CBS poll is overlooking conservatives, could it also be overlooking a few Tea Party supporters?

Liberal media outlets and liberal politicians (including some Republicans) are diligently working to crush the Tea Party, but I'm not sure that it's working.

Over at NewsBusters, Noel Sheppard provides a helpful reminder:
...the only poll that really matters happens on Election Day, and the last one was quite good for the Tea Party.


  1. Right,

    Bravo to you for dissecting the numbers. Too many of us -- understandably -- have other concerns in our lives like earning a living and raising families to get wonkish with the absurd numbers put out by the liberal-leaning MSM. The reducto ad absurdum example of this, of course is the discrepancy between Obama's personal favorability and how he rated by the public in the various phases of the job he actually is supposed to do.

    Today, Rasmussen has him at 44% and it's continually big news when he approaches the 40% personal approval mark. (We are all waiting for him to crack that barrier, believing it will herald an unchecked free-fall.) However, the numbers he receives for the various aspects of his job performance are well below 40% and he is upside down in a number of battleground states like Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. (I beg an indulgence; citations provided upon request.)

    As I have hoarsely croaked for the last year, his personal approval my remain in the 40s owing to two factors: (1) the Bradley Effect and (2) the fact that, when asked the basic question, "do you like Obama (personally)", the answer is "yes". The Bradley effect, of course, is a variant on the second reason. Folks were reluctant to bag on black 1980s gubernatorial candidate, Mayor Tom Bradley in every poll, giving him a +6 point lead over George Deukmejian. Of course, like you said, the one poll that counted -- the election of 1982 -- saw them express a wildly different opinion of the abilities of Tom Bradley.

    I am betting that this will be the case on November 6, 2012.

  2. I'm just hoping the word will get out. Too many people seem to think the NYT/CBS numbers have some validity. I think a lot of people are still working under the assumption that the NYT cares enough about its credibility to conduct legitimate polls.


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