Despite all the evidence of repeated surveys, the media continues to treat the Tea Party as if it were an influential player in contemporary politics. They salivate at plastering their pages and airwaves with red-meat melodrama that lacks relevance or substance. That’s how they end up so pathetically far off course whenever another poll is taken that casts the Tea Party in a realistic light. And that’s what the Associated Press just did:
Tea party backers fashion themselves as “we the people,” but polls show the Republican Party’s most conservative and energized voters are hardly your average crowd.
According to an Associated Press-GfK Poll this month, 84 percent who call themselves tea party supporters don’t like how President Barack Obama is handling his job – a view shared by just 35 percent of all other adults. Tea partiers are about four times likelier than others to back repealing Obama’s health care overhaul and twice as likely to favor renewing tax cuts for the highest-earning Americans.
Exit polls of voters in this month’s congressional elections reveal similar gulfs. Most tea party supporters – 86 percent – want less government intrusion on people and businesses, but only 35 percent of other voters said so. Tea party backers were about five times likelier to blame Obama for the country’s economic ills, three times likelier to say Obama’s policies will be harmful and twice as apt to see the country on the wrong track.
These aren’t subtle shadings between tea party backers and the majority of Americans, who don’t support the movement; they’re Grand Canyon-size chasms.
My only response to this latest revelation of the Tea Party’s impotence is to quote myself the last couple of times this was revealed:
Dec 19, 2009: The fact that the Tea Baggers have failed to create a significant presence despite being bankrolled by some of the biggest and wealthiest AstroTurf lobbying organizations in the country (i.e. FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity), and having the promotional backing of Fox News, illustrates just how unappealing most Americans regard that brand of disruptive griping.
Oct 5, 2010: [T]he Tea Party is a fringe cadre of extremists who have little in common with average Americans. So why do they get so much attention in the press? Well, partly because the press loves controversy, even if they have to invent it. And partly because the Republican Party is anxious to hitch its wagon to the Tea Party express in hopes of enhancing their electoral prospects. But the main reason the Tea Party gets so much attention in the press is because they have their own press (i.e. Fox News, talk radio, etc.) that pours out their propaganda in a flood of fury, fear, and foreboding.
There is plenty of data available for the press to frame the issues honestly. They just seem to prefer spinning fables. A survey released earlier this week showed that a majority of Americans support extension of the Bush-era tax cuts only for those earning less than $250,000. It also shows that a majority want to keep the new health care bill as it is or expand it. And this is after months of harsh, and mostly false, rhetoric bashing these policies from Tea Partiers and their media accomplices.
It’s been two years now. Is the media ever going to report honestly on this phony “movement.” You would think they would tire of embarrassing themselves over and over again.