Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tea Partiers Have More In Common With Progressives Than Conservaties, Regardless of What The Conservative Media Says

One of the organizing principles of the conservative-led tea party movement is an “aversion to big government,” with tea party organizers turning their ire on comprehensive health insurance reform, clean energy legislation, and even mandatory trash collection. Yet another new poll finds that, despite their anti-government rhetoric, a majority of tea partiers favor the government enacting policies to protect manufacturing jobs and placing tariffs on goods from countries with weak environmental standards:
A new poll contradicts the widely held belief that the the tea party movement is opposed to government action to help the economy.It shows that self-described Tea Party supporters are very much in favor of government action to revitalize America’s manufacturing base.

Seventy-four percent of self-described Tea Party Supporters would support a “national manufacturing strategy to make sure that economic, tax, labor, and trade policies in this country work together to help support manufacturing in the United States,” according to the poll, put out by the Mellman Group and the Alliance for American Manufacturing. Likewise, 56 percent of self-described Tea Party Supporters “favor a tariff on products imported from other countries that are cheaper because they came from a country that does not have to comply with any climate change regulations in the country where the products were made.”
It remains to be seen if the corporate-funded astro-turf groups like FreedomWorks and other Republican operatives, who have promoted the tea party movement, will be willing to champion these pro-worker and pro-environmental views movement members appear to have.

2008-12-22-Zogby_HuffPo_CenterLeft_v1.jpgThe thing that is so truly ironic about most of the people who have been pulled into the tea party movement is that issue by issue, they have more in common with with progressives than the deep pocket conservative FreedomWorks and other Republican operatives who have been funding the tea party marketing initiatives over the last year and half.

In late 2008 the Norman Lear Center and Zogby International - asked a scientific sample of adults to look at 21 pairs of statements. Each pair dug down to core political values. Each pair had a red (or conservative) answer and a blue (or liberal) answer. Fifty-two percent were blue, and 48% were red - a finding that's significant beyond the poll's +/- 1.8% margin of error. The country leans to the left, not the right.

2008-12-22-Zogby_HuffPo_PoorMorality_v4.jpg On some issues, the country has a lopsidedly blue point of view. For example, 77% of our respondents agreed that "it is our duty to help the less fortunate"; 76% said that "government is too involved in regulating morality"; 76% believe that "corporations generally act without society's best interests in mind."

(If you'd like to see all 21 pairs of political values questions, and how people answered, data that drives a final stake into the center-right talking-point. here's where to find that.)

2008-12-22-Zogby_HuffPo_Clusters_v1.jpgA surprisingly small number of the 3,167 people in the survey gave answers that were all blue or all red. Instead, almost all the adults polled offered mixtures of red and blue answers.

And when we analyzed those mixtures, we found that they formed three statistically significant clusters, which we called red (41% of the sample), blue (34%), and purple (24%). (The poll's findings omit the country's 5% of self-identified libertarians, who are all over the map on the issues.)

2008-12-22-Zogby_HuffPo_PurpleLanding_v1.jpgPurples - the nation's center - leaned to the red end of the spectrum on eight issues, and they leaned to the blue end of the spectrum on 12 issues. (They were split 50/50 on one issue: whether religion should be left out of public life.)

Over all, 56% of the purples identified with blue answers, and 44% of the purples identified with red answers. In other words, the center of the country leans to the left, not the right.

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