Poll Shows Tea Party Supporters Are Your Typical GOP Reactionary Who Follows Conspiracy Theories

A New York Times/CBS News poll shows that Tea Party supporters demographically and ideologically are your basic Republican voter. This includes believing many of the falsehoods which are common on the far right. From the summary:

The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.

They hold more conservative views on a range of issues than Republicans generally. They are also more likely to describe themselves as “very conservative” and President Obama as “very liberal.”

And further results:

Tea Party supporters’ fierce animosity toward Washington, and the president in particular, is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich.

The overwhelming majority of supporters say Mr. Obama does not share the values most Americans live by and that he does not understand the problems of people like themselves. More than half say the policies of the administration favor the poor, and 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites — compared with 11 percent of the general public.

They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people…

They are far more pessimistic than Americans in general about the economy. More than 90 percent of Tea Party supporters think the country is headed in the wrong direction, compared with about 60 percent of the general public. About 6 in 10 say “America’s best years are behind us” when it comes to the availability of good jobs for American workers.

Nearly 9 in 10 disapprove of the job Mr. Obama is doing over all, and about the same percentage fault his handling of major issues: health care, the economy and the federal budget deficit. Ninety-two percent believe Mr. Obama is moving the country toward socialism, an opinion shared by more than half of the general public.

“I just feel he’s getting away from what America is,” said Kathy Mayhugh, 67, a retired medical transcriber in Jacksonville. “He’s a socialist. And to tell you the truth, I think he’s a Muslim and trying to head us in that direction, I don’t care what he says. He’s been in office over a year and can’t find a church to go to. That doesn’t say much for him.”

Digby discussed several points. Here are some that she discussed:

Here’s an interesting factoid that tracks with my intuition about these people: they blame George W. Bush and Wall Street far less for the economic situation than the rest of the country does. They hold Obama and congress mostly responsible. But then, if you listen to wingnut gasbags and FOX news crazies all day, that’s what you would think…

74% think the economy would have improved just fine without any government interference…

Only 37% don’t like McCain which is sort of surprising (31% like him and the rest don’t have an opinion.) A whopping 57% like GWB. Most of them don’t know much about Ron Paul. He only gets about 20% approval. They love Glenn Beck (59%) which I think tells you everything you need to know about this group. But it’s Sister Sarah they truly love: 66%, although only 40% think “she would be able to be an effective president”…

49% of the country thinks Obama is somewhat or very liberal, while 86% of teabaggers

Here’s a shocker: Only 58% of Americans think Obama was born in the US as opposed to 41% of teabaggers. The rest either think he was born in another country or don’t know. (It’s possible that some of these people don’t understand the significance and simply heard something about Indonesia — or think Hawaii is a foreign country.)

64% of these fools believe their taxes have been raised.

80% think you shouldn’t raise taxes on people who make over 250k a year in order to help pay for health care. (That’s opposed to only 39% of the public as a whole.)

They really don’t like poor people. 73% of them think that government benefits encourage people to remain poor (73%) while only 33% of the country as a whole believe that…

They are full on global warming deniers. 66% either think it doesn’t exist or won’t have an impact.

41% believe in civil unions and 40% think there should be no recognition for gay couples at all. Far fewer believe in gay marriage than the country at large.

A higher number of teabaggers than the public as a whole believe that abortion should be illegal and more of them than the rest of us think it should be more strictly proscribed. Only 20% think it should be generally available.

They like guns quite a bit more than most people.

25% of them think that violent action against the government is justified.

Among the public at large, 58% think Roe vs Wade is a good thing and only 34% think it was a bad thing. Only 40% of teabaggers think it was a good thing while 53% think it was a bad thing.

In other words, it is a similar bunch of right wing extremists who go berserk and spread conspiracy theories whenever a Democrat is in the White House. This phenomenon is hardly new, and probably would not even be receiving all that much attention if not for Fox. The degree to which people at Fox such as Sean Hannity are simultaneously promoting the movement while pretending to cover it as news has gotten so out of hand that even Fox executives have become embarrassed by it. This comes soon after a recent Fox story which debunked some of the same conspiracy theories which others at Fox have been spreading.

Obama and Socialism

I’ve noted the absurdity of the right wingers who consider  a fairly centrist politician such as Barack Obama to be a socialist several times in the past, including quoting socialists who are amazed that Obama would be lumped with them. This is nothing new, but as CNN has made mention of it today I figured it is worth repeating once again:

“Socialized health care” is on its way. The “socialist agenda” is taking over America. And best of all, Barack Obama, a “committed socialist ideologue,” is in the Oval Office.

But Wharton, co-chair of the Socialist Party USA, sees no reason to celebrate. He’s seen people with bumper stickers and placards that call Obama a socialist, and he has a message for them: Obama isn’t a socialist. He’s not even a liberal.

“We didn’t see a great victory with the election of Barack Obama,” Wharton says, ” and we certainly didn’t see our agenda move from the streets to the White House.”

Obama’s opponents have long described him as a socialist. But what do actual socialists think about Obama? Not much, says Wharton.

“He’s the president whose main goal is to protect the wealth of the richest 5 percent of Americans.”

He and others say the assertion that Obama is a socialist is absurd.

“It makes no rational sense. It clearly means that people don’t understand what socialism is.”

The claim that Obama’s main goal is to “protect the wealth of the richest 5 percent of Americans” is also inaccurate, and I sure don’t see the richest 5 percent believing this. However criticism from socialists is understandable as Obama’s goal is definitely to preserve our free market system and his polices are quite far from socialism.

Senate Passes Temporary Spending Bill

The Senate has passed the temporary spending bill this evening to restore funding for several programs including unemployment benefits, COBRA benefits, and Medicare payment to doctors. The House already passed similar legislation to extend payments through April. A Senate amendment extending the payments until June 1 requires that the House vote again on the legislation, which is expected later tonight. The benefits, which have been on hold since April 1 due to Republican filibusters, will be restored retroactively.

Update: The House has passed the spending bill.