>The NY Times is Right about Tea Party Supporters

>The New York Times has it Right
Supports February Rutgers-Eagleton Poll of New Jersey Residents

Rutgers-Eagleton Poll releases on Tea Party in New Jersey:
February 25, 2010
March 2, 2010

Today’s New York Times Report

Today’s (April 15) New York Times reports on what they call the first ever national poll of Tea Party supporters. Methodologically they over sampled supporters of the Tea Party movement in order to ensure a large enough sample from which to draw statistically valid conclusions with a reasonable margin of sampling error. This strategy allows them to report the demographics of Tea Party supporters nationally: “mostly white males, over 45, more wealthy and more conservative than the norm.”

This poll goes a long way towards helping us understand who feels affiliated with the tea Party movement and some of their beliefs. And these national findings track well with our earlier poll of New Jersey. We reported on March 2 that

50 percent of [New Jersey] voters who view the Tea Party favorably are Republicans even though Republicans make up only 27 percent of the registered voter sample. Independents comprise 35 percent of tea party supporters, while 15 percent are Democrats.

We also stated that in New Jersey:

While 27 percent of all New Jersey voters have a favorable impression of the Tea Party, this rises to 31 percent of exurban residents, compared to only 21 percent of urban dwellers. Very few blacks (only 5 percent) have a favorable impression of the Tea Party movement, but more than half (54 percent) of the very small sample of Asian voters express a favorable view, compared to 29 percent of all whites and 24 percent of Latino voters. Tea Party supporters are more likely to be male, with 31 percent of men favorable, compared to 24 percent of women. Higher income also defines those who view the Tea Party movement favorably. While only 18 percent of voters making less than $50,000 have a favorable view, 30 percent of those making more than $50,000 do.

It looks like New Jersey Tea Party supporters are a lot like what the Times finds nationally: whiter, more wealthy, and male, as well as heavily Republican (and thus more conservative) than the norm for the state of New Jersey.

The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll also found that in New Jersey Tea Party supporters have very extreme views of Barack Obama – with 75% of Republican Tea Party supporters calling him a socialist and 49% calling his administration un-American.

But as befits a group that is generally more wealthy than the public at large, GOP Tea Party supporters in New Jersey are less worried than most about their own personal situation, with few worries 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.

While our numbers are based on much smaller samples because the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll did not over sample for Tea Party supporters (and thus our results have a much higher margin of sampling error) it is interesting and instructive to see that our findings for New Jersey are essentially replicated in a national survey.

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