A Third of Americans Agree with Tea Party

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many people in the United States support the ideas of the National Tea Party movement, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 37 per cent of respondents agree with the movement’s core policies, while 25 per cent disagree with them.

Since last year, numerous Tea Party protests have been held across the U.S. Attendants to these events have expressed dissatisfaction with specific policies, including the federal stimulus package, the possibility of a carbon emissions trading scheme, and proposed changes to the country’s health care system. The movement is generally against taxation and the government playing a major role in the lives of individuals. Several politicians—including former House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich and current Texas governor Rick Perry—have voiced support for the demonstrations.

In American presidential elections, candidates require 270 votes in the Electoral College to win the White House. In November 2008, Democratic nominee Barack Obama secured a majority of electoral votes, defeating Republican candidate John McCain. Obama became the first African American president in U.S. history when he took over from George W. Bush—who served two four-year terms—in January 2009.

One of Obama’s main campaign pledges was to increase access to health care for all Americans. In November 2009, lawmakers in the lower house of Congress approved a bill—known as the Affordable Health Care for America Act—in a 220-215 vote. In December, the Senate passed its own version of the bill in a 60-39 vote. On Mar. 21, the House voted 219-212 to pass the Senate version of the bill, which was signed into law by Obama yesterday.

On Mar. 22, Gingrich expressed dismay at the decision, saying, “The American people spoke decisively against a big government, high tax, Washington knows best, pro-trial lawyer centralized bureaucratic health system. (…) Sunday was a pressured, bought, intimidated vote worthy of [Venezuelan president] Hugo Chávez but unworthy of the United States of America.”

Polling Data

From what you have seen, read or heard about the National Tea Party movement, do you agree or disagree with its core policies?

Agree 37%
Disagree 25%
Not sure 39%

Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,003 American adults, conducted on Mar. 17 and Mar. 18, 2010. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.