Tuesday, March 2, 2010

More on the TEA Party Movement in NJ

We are releasing more on our polling on the TEA Party movement in New Jersey. No time to write about it right now other than to post the press release. To get the TABLES and QUESTIONS, click on the post title, or HERE to get a PDF of the release.

Here's the release:


Movement a complex mix of beliefs – most are anti-Obama, but many are more moderate

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J – Seventy five percent of New Jersey Republicans with a favorable impression of the TEA Party movement think President Barack Obama is a socialist, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released today. Republicans who do not favor the movement disagree, with only 38 percent calling Obama a socialist.

Similarly, while 84 percent of pro-TEA Party Republicans say Obama is disconnected from people like them and 49 percent call the Obama administration un-American, other Republicans have very different opinions: 20 percent call Obama un-American and 51 percent say he is disconnected from people like them.

“We find that Republicans who favor the TEA Party movement are driven, at least in part, by an antipathy towards Obama which is simply less prevalent among Republicans who are not favorable toward the TEA Party,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political Science at Rutgers University. The poll of 953 New Jersey adults including 886 register voters was conducted Feb. 19-22, 2010 and has a margin of error of +/-3.3 percentage points for the registered voter sample.

Registered voters in New Jersey have a less favorable impression of the TEA Party movement than other states, as shown in recent national polls. Statewide, only 27 percent of New Jersey voters have a favorable impression of the movement, while 29 percent view it unfavorably and 44 percent express no opinion either way.

Not surprisingly, there is a strong partisan split, with 48 percent of Republican or leaning Republican voters expressing a favorable impression of the TEA Party movement, while 10 percent are unfavorable, and 42 percent have no opinion.

At the same time, 30 percent of independents and 11 percent of Democrats and leaning Democrats have a favorable impression of the movement. Overall, 70 percent of those with a favorable view of the TEA Party are Republicans, while 30 percent are independents and Democrats.

TEA Party Republicans differ from Democrats and independents favoring group

The relatively small sample of pro-TEA Party independents and Democrats diverges from the movement’s Republican supporters in several ways, according to Redlawsk. While Republicans favoring the TEA Party movement are strongly negative toward Obama by an 84 percent to 8 percent margin, two-thirds of non-Republicans who favor the movement also view Obama favorably, and only 20 percent have an unfavorable impression of him. Moreover, 60 percent of the non-Republicans favoring the TEA Party do not believe that Obama is a socialist and 65 percent do not consider his administration un-American.

TEA Party supporters less extreme on issues than on Obama

TEA Party supporters agree with other New Jersey voters about New Jerseyans’ lack of personal fiscal responsibility. More than 68 percent of the state’s voters believe that Americans are not personally fiscally responsible. This includes 73 percent of GOP TEA Party supporters, and 65 percent of those who are not; 62 percent of non-Republican TEA Party supporters, and 69 percent of Democrats and independents who do not favor the movement.

On the government bailout of large financial institutions TEA Party Republicans look more like other Republicans, with 85 percent disagreeing that the “financial bailout was a good use of money” compared to 75 percent of Republicans without a favorable impression of the movement. Among Democrats and independents, 53 percent oppose the bailout regardless of their views of the Tea Party.

Asked to react to the statement, “Our country used to stand for something; it doesn’t anymore,” TEA Party supporters are more likely to agree, regardless of party preference; 62 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats and independents concur. The statement is supported by only a minority of those who do not view the TEA Party favorably: 49 percent of Republicans and 37 percent of Democrats and independents.

Republicans who favor the TEA Party are less likely to believe that “Government should do more to help middle class people,” with 65 percent in agreement. Still, when action is focused on the middle class, a majority of TEA Party supporters see a role for government. All others groups of respondents were even more likely to agree, with 79 percent of Republican Tea Party detractors, 86 percent of Democrats and independents who favor the TEA Party and 89 percent of all other Democrats and independents agreeing with the statement.

“Taken together, we see that those with a favorable view of the TEA Party movement cannot be cast as a single group marching in lockstep,” said Redlawsk. “In some ways Republicans favorable towards the movement are completely different from their fellow Republicans, or from non-Republicans who also favor the movement. But in others, TEA Party supporters of all stripes differ from those without a favorable view of the group. And in still other ways, TEA Party supporters are directly in the opinion mainstream.”

“Ultimately, our analysis suggests that among Republicans TEA Party supporters there is great motivation in their negativity towards Obama,” said Redlawsk. “But pro-Tea Party Democrats and independents have more general concerns about the state of America today.”

TEA Party Republicans less worried about their personal situation

Differences between TEA Party Republican supporters and other voters are very clear when asked how much they worry about their personal financial situation. Pro-TEA Party GOPers are much less worried than other voters about housing, health insurance, jobs and retirement. The difference is stark for housing, where just 18 percent of Republicans favoring the TEA Party worry “a lot” about the availability of good housing compared to 33 percent to 42 percent from other groups. While 45 percent of these Republicans worry “a lot” about health insurance coverage, 62 percent to 75 percent from other groups worry a lot about coverage.

That Pro-Tea Party Republicans are financially better off than counterparts from other groups, explains different levels of concern, Redlawsk said.

Demographics of TEA Party Movement

GOP TEA Party movement supporters are clustered in the $50,000 to $100,000 income range and are somewhat older than the average New Jersey voter. They are also significantly more likely to be male, white, and to consider themselves born-again Christians. Democrats and independents favoring the TEA Party are more likely to have incomes under $50,000, are much younger, and less likely to be white males.

“There appear to be two demographic bases for the TEA Party movement,” said Redlawsk. “One is a higher income, older, male, Republican, anti-Obama group. The other is a lower income, younger group who are not Republicans and who like Obama. These voters are attracted to the TEA Party because of worries about their own financial situation and feelings that something is wrong in America. With more than a quarter of New Jersey voters favorable towards the TEA Party, it is possible that the movement could have real impact on politics. The question is whether it can provide what both groups want at the same time. If the focus is on impacting the Republican Party, it may lose the 30 percent who are not Republicans. But to keep that group happy may require a focus that is much broader than Republican Party politics and an intense dislike of the Obama administration.”

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