Tea Party Support Declines Somewhat

Support strongest among older, white men who did not graduate from college

Mar 08, 2011, 10:04 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, March 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A new Harris Poll finds that support for the Tea Party movement has declined somewhat. From May through October last year the Harris Poll found that 45% or 44% of all adults supported the Tea Party movement.  That slipped to 39% in January and to 37% in February.  In May last year fully 21% of adults said that they supported the movement strongly.  These strong Tea Party supporters declined to 17% late last year and dropped to 14% in February.

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These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 3,171 adults surveyed online between February 14 and 21, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

The poll also provides a demographic profile of Tea Party supporters, which shows that:

  • There are more strong Tea Party supporters in the East (20%) than in the other regions, but if all Tea Party supporters are counted they are more common in the South (43%) than in the other regions and least likely to be in the West (32%);
  • A much higher proportion (49%) of people over 65 than of Baby Boomers (36%) and younger generations (37% of Gen X, aged 35-46 and 34% of Echo Boomers, aged 18-34) are Tea Party supporters;
  • Men are much more likely than women (47% vs. 29%) to be Tea Party supporters and to be strong Tea Party supporters (21% vs. 8%);
  • Only a very few African Americans (8%) are Tea Party supporters compared to 42% of whites and 37% of Hispanics;
  • Fully 70% of Republicans are Tea Party supporters and 26% of them are strong supporters.  More surprisingly perhaps Tea Party supporters include 17% of Democrats and 38% of Independents;
  • There is a strong correlation between support for the Tea Party and (not having) education.  Supporters include 43% of those who never went to college, 36% of people with some college education but no degree, 33% of college graduates and 26% of those with a post graduate degree;
  • Tea Party support is lowest (29%) among those with household incomes of less than $35,000 but is not correlated with income among the rest of the population.   However the largest proportion (24%) who are strong supporters are found among those with household incomes of between $50,000 an $75,000; and,
  • Most Conservatives (69%) are Tea Party supporters and almost a third of them (31%) are strong supporters.  However substantial minorities of moderates (27%) and liberals (20%) are also supporters.

So What?

While this poll shows that support for the Tea Party movement has been declining this year, the decline is modest; more than one third of adults still support it.  Furthermore this downward trend may not continue.  Something may happen to breathe new life into the movement.  Only time will tell if this is the beginning of a long term decline or whether the Tea Party will still be  a potent force in the run up to the 2012 elections, and whether it will strengthen, or divide the Republican party.

TABLE 1

SUPPORT OR OPPOSE THE TEA PARTY - TREND

"Do you support or oppose the Tea Party Movement?"

Base: All adults


2010

2011

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Jan

Feb

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Support (NET)

45

44

44

45

44

39

37

    Strongly support

21

18

18

17

17

16

14

    Somewhat support

24

26

27

27

27

23

23

Oppose (NET)

35

36

34

35

37

35

38

    Somewhat oppose

13

13

13

16

14

11

13

    Strongly oppose

22

23

21

19

23

24

25

Not at all sure

20

20

22

20

18

26

24


Note: Until January 2011 this question was only asked among those adults who said they were familiar with the Tea Party Movement.  Beginning in January 2011 it was asked of all adults; Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.



TABLE 2

SUPPORT THE TEA PARTY - DEMOGRAPHICS

"Do you support or oppose the Tea Party Movement?"

Summary of "Support"

Base: All adults


Strongly support

Somewhat support

Support (NET)

%

%

%

All adults

14

23

37

Region




    East

20

17

37

    Midwest

11

24

34

    South

15

29

43

    West

12

20

32

Generation




    Echo Boomers (18-34)

14

20

34

    Gen X (35-46)

12

25

37

    Baby Boomers (47-65)

12

24

36

    Matures (66+)

21

28

49

Gender




    Male

21

25

47

    Female

8

21

29

Race/Ethnicity




    White

16

27

42

    African American

5

3

8

    Hispanic

14

23

37

Political Party ID




    Republican

26

43

70

    Democrat

9

8

17

    Independent

13

25

38

Education




    H.S. or less

18

25

43

    Some college

14

22

36

    College grad

10

24

33

    Post grad

8

18

26

Income




    Less than $35K

9

21

29

    $35K-$49.9K

14

26

40

    $50K-$74.9K

24

20

44

    $75K-$99.9K

14

26

40

    $100K +

14

26

40

Political Philosophy




    Conservative

31

38

69

    Moderate

5

22

27

    Liberal

14

7

20


Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.



Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between February 14 to 21, 2011 among 3,171 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J39370

Q1220

The Harris Poll® #33, March 8, 2011

By Humphrey Taylor, Chairman, The Harris Poll

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contact:

Corporate Communications

Harris Interactive

212-539-9600

press@harrisinteractive.net



SOURCE Harris Interactive



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