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Poll: Tea partiers miss Bush, like the GOP, don't want a third party, and wonder where Obama was born

The full results of the CBS News/New York Times poll on the tea party movement are well worth reading. I've broken out some of the Tea Party numbers to contrast them with the numbers from the general population. The starting point: 18 percent of Americans consider themselves "supporters" of the movement, and a smaller number of them are participants.

First, however, check out the numbers on whether voters want "a new party to compete with the Democratic and Republican parties." Americans barely disagree with that -- 48 percent say no, 46 percent say yes. But tea partiers disagree by a large margin, 52/40. That confirms that Democratic dreams of tea partiers splitting off of the GOP and spoiling their votes are mostly just that -- dreams.

Also, check out the question on whether "Barack Obama was born in the United States or in another country." Only 58 percent of Americans know that he was born in the United States -- 20 percent say another country, the rest don't know. Only 40 percent of tea partiers know that Obama was born here, compared to 30 percent who say another country. Nearly two years after I started writing about the "birthers," their resilience astounds me. As long as we're talking about the fringe, though, only 1 percent of self-identified tea partiers say they'll refuse to fill out the census. That's lower than the number (3 percent) among all Americans.

Here's a guide to the rest of the poll.

- Among all Americans, the Democratic Party has a net negative, 42/50 favorable rating. Among tea partiers the split is 6/92 -- only six percent have a favorable view.

- Among all Americans, the Republican Party is viewed a little less favorably than the Democrats -- 38/53. Among tea partiers, it has a 54/43 favorable rating.

- Among all Americans, George W. Bush has 27/58 positive/negative favorable rating. Among tea partiers he's viewed favorably, 57/27.

- One explanation for that: Among all Americans, the Bush administration takes the largest share -- 39 percent -- of the blame for the "current federal budget deficit." Only 6 percent of tea partiers blame Bush, while 24 percent blame President Obama and 37 percent blame Congress.

- Americans are fairly evenly split on whether they consider "reducing the budget deficit" more important than cutting taxes -- 47 percent say tax cuts, 45 percent say deficit reduction. Tea partiers lean more heavily toward tax cuts (49 percent) than deficit reduction (42 percent). But while Americans would prefer that the government "spend money to create jobs" by a 50/42 margin, only 17 percent of tea partiers agree -- 76 percent want to cut the deficit.

- Among all Americans, Glenn Beck is a divisive and not too well-known media figure. Only around half of them have heard of Beck, and those folks view him favorably, 18/17. Among tea partiers, Beck is wildly popular -- 59/6 favorable.

- Among all Americans, Sarah Palin is wildly unpopular -- her negative/favorable rating is 30/45. But tea partiers adore her and give her a 66/12 favorable rating. Yet here's something to watch -- only 40 percent of tea partiers say Palin could be an "effective president," compared to 47 percent who disagree. (Among all Americans the numbers are 26 percent and 63 percent.)

- Tea partiers are not nearly as socially conservative as the GOP. Only 40 percent believe there should be "no legal recognition of gay couple's relationships," while 41 percent support civil unions. Only 42 percent favor a decrease in legal immigration-- about in line with most Americans. Only 40 percent support the Roe v. Wade decision, but try getting 40 percent of Republican politicians to say that.

Oh -- tea partiers really, really don't like President Obama. Among all Americans he has a 50-percent approval rating; among tea partiers, it's 7 percent. Among all Americans, 57 percent say Obama "shares the values most Americans try to live by" and 58 percent say he "understands the needs and problems" of people like them. Among tea partiers, the numbers are 24 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Twenty-five percent of tea partiers say Obama's policies "favor blacks over whites," an opinion shared by only 11 percent of the country at large (89 percent of tea partiers are white).

By David Weigel  |  April 15, 2010; 9:52 AM ET
Categories:  Tea Party  | Tags: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, George W. Bush, Glenn Beck, Republican, Sarah Palin, United States, United States Congress  
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