Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Teabaggers And The Poor

A great deal of the coverage of teabagger rallies has focused on their retrograde views on race. And while it's true that not all teabaggers are racist, polling suggests they're significantly more likely to harbor views on race that are outside the mainstream. But that's not the interesting part. Via digby, the New York Times poll on Tea Partiers' political views suggests they reserve their highest level of contempt for poor people. Here's a chart, showing the gap between white Tea Partiers and non-tea partying white independents when it comes to various issue questions.

As you can see, three of the four questions with the largest gaps have to do with socialism or poor people. After that comes the questions on race. After that come other social and cultural issues, where the Tea Partiers, though still conservative, are closer to the mainstream.

This is a rather astounding result; it suggests that the most promising way to wedge the GOP would be to propose broad-based anti-poverty spending, full of "making work pay" and "earned benefits" and the like. In other words, the best way to win elections is to turn the federal government into Newt Gingrich's worst nightmare.


Dennis said...

Isn't there the classic race/poverty switch here? I had thought that teabaggers were broadly more supportive of social security and medicare than white independents generally because of group solidarity. I think the policy proposal is probably still right, but that the reason it'll work is probably not primarily economic.

Brock said...

Can you clarify this chart? E.g. does the first column mean that T% of teabaggers agree with the statement "Obama is moving the country toward socialism", I% of non-teabagging independents agree with that statement, and T - I = 45?

Nicholas Beaudrot said...

@Dennis: that's certainly a factor, but that some of the questions on poor people have larger gaps. So there seems to be some specific ire towards poor people.

@Brock: Yes, it's T-I.

Brock said...

Is a negative T - I converted being to a positive value for some statements?

I find it hard to believe that a random teabagger is 20% *more* likely to agree with "Abortion should be generally available to those who want it" than a random non-teabagging independent.

Nicholas Beaudrot said...

Right, sorry, it's