Poll Reveals All You Need to Know about Tea Baggers: 57% Still Support George Bush – And, Yes, Their Rage Is Fueled by Racism, Fox News
April 15 2010
By Jon Ponder
For pundits and pols who have been casting about trying to get a fix on the true nature of tea baggers, a new poll finally offers definitive insight. According to the new CBS/New York Times poll of self-described tea-party supporters, 57 percent have a favorable opinion of George W. Bush.
Furthermore, 63 percent say they restrict their their news consumption to right-wing propaganda from Fox News. This may explain why they are outraged over the Obama administration’s efforts to pull the nation back from the brink of economic collapse while apparently having no clue that the person most responsible for the Bush Recession is their own Dear Leader George W. Bush.
It is a tribute to Fox News’ mastery at obfuscating reality with disinformation that these Bush fans are seemingly unaware that the U.S. economy crashed and the Bush Recession began in September 2008, when, indisputably, George Bush was president. Having only been exposed to propaganda from Fox and hatemonger radio and bloggers, tea baggers have no way of knowing that the malfeasant anti-regulatory policies of the Bush administration and the GOP-controlled Congress, combined with Republicans’ now-famous incompetence at governing, were directly responsible for the economic crisis.
The history of the Bush regime is being rewritten faster on Fox and in the right-wing media than anyone can keep up with, but let’s also recall that George Bush left office with 21 percent approval after being well below 50 percent for years. (About 20 percent of Americans also supported Richard Nixon when he resigned in disgrace.) Bush, Cheney et al lied about the pretexts for invading Iraq, which means that the blood of thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi families was wasted needlessly, along with billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars that were flushed away at the very moment that the economic collapse was looming.
(Let’s also not forget that, under Bush, the United States paid for universal health care for 30 million or so Iraqis while 45 million Americans had none.) But it was Bush’s ineptitude — and baldfaced lying about it — in addressing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that finally forced normal Americans to recognize George W. Bush for what he was: Worst. President. Ever. His approval ratings never recovered after that debacle.
It speaks volumes that it’s this barely articulate, incurious aristocratic bully that tea baggers voted for — twice — and still support to this day.
Another prime example of the influence of Fox propaganda: A whopping 64 percent of tea baggers believe Pres. Obama has raised taxes on most Americans. As CBS noted in their coverage of this poll result: “[The] vast majority of Americans [95 percent] got a tax cut under the Obama administration.”
One unsurprising result from the poll is that tea baggers love Fox News’ most popular propagandists. They approve of Sarah Palin by 66 percent and Glenn Beck by 59 percent. This adoration of Beck, in particular, helps explain another aspect of the poll: Like Beck, tea baggers loathe the U.S. president:
Eighty-eight percent disapprove of President Obama’s performance on the job, compared to 40 percent of Americans overall. While half of Americans approve of Mr. Obama’s job performance, just seven percent of Tea Party supporters say he is doing a good job.
Asked to volunteer what they don’t like about Mr. Obama, the top answer, offered by 19 percent of Tea Party supporters, was that they just don’t like him. Eleven percent said he is turning the country more toward socialism, ten percent cited his health care reform efforts, and nine percent said he is dishonest.
Seventy-seven percent describe Mr. Obama as “very liberal,” compared to 31 percent of Americans overall. Fifty-six percent say the president’s policies favor the poor, compared to 27 percent of Americans overall.
The fact that 56 percent of tea baggers say Pres. Obama’s policies favor the poor is telling. While only about 13 percent of Americans are black, a great many white people labor under the misperception that most poor people are black. More about tea baggers’ views on race below.
Ninety-two percent of Tea Party supporters believe President Obama’s policies are moving the country toward socialism. Fifty-two percent of Americans overall share that belief.
Asked what socialism means, roughly half of Tea Party supporters volunteered government ownership or control, far more than any other answer. Eleven percent cited taking away rights or limiting freedom, and eight percent said it means the redistribution of wealth.
Thirty percent of Tea Party supporters believe Mr. Obama was born in another country, despite ample evidence to the contrary. Another 29 percent say they don’t know. Twenty percent of Americans overall, one in five, believe the president was not born in the United States.
Not surprisingly, the poll found that tea baggers deep-seated racist views:
Fifty-two percent believe too much has been made of the problems facing black people. Far fewer Americans overall — 28 percent — believe as much. Among non-Tea Party whites, the percentage who say too much attention has been paid to the problems of black people is 23 percent.
A majority of Tea Party suppers believe the Obama administration treats both blacks and whites the same way. But one in four believe the administration favors blacks over whites, an opinion shared by just 11 percent of Americans overall and seven percent of non-Tea Party whites.
As to demographics, no surprise here. The poll that most tea baggers are middle-aged, white and Southern:
Eighteen percent of Americans identify as Tea Party supporters. The vast majority of them — 89 percent — are white. Just one percent is black.
They tend to skew older: Three in four are 45 years old or older, including 29 percent who are 65 plus. They are also more likely to be men (59 percent) than women (41 percent).
More than one in three (36 percent) hails from the South, far more than any other region. Twenty-five percent come from the West, 22 percent from the Midwest, and 18 percent from the northeast.
A lot of headlines about this poll focus on the surprising result that self-identified tea baggers claim to be wealthier and more educated than would otherwise be expected from people who are so easily manipulated and duped into believing facts that are easily disproved.
There are no national figures better known for their difficult relationships with the truth than Bush, Palin and Beck, so one plausible explanation for this apparent outlier about tea baggers’ income and education levels: