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Majority in unscientific FOXNews.com poll pegs Tea Party movement ‘racist’

By Ron Brynaert
Thursday, February 11, 2010 11:24 EDT
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It’s modern warfare online poll time again.

While most polls on the internet that are labeled as “unscientific” usually fade into obscurity even before all the votes are tallied, every now and then one becomes a meme.

Thursday morning, a Wonkette blog post titled “Fox News Poll: Yes, We Are Insanely Racist Crazy People” made it onto Digg’s recommended list.

The FOXNews.com poll asked, “What Do You Think Tea Party Movement Is About?”

How to define the Tea Party movement was nearly as big an issue last week at the National Tea Party Convention as the political issues discussed, from government fiscal responsibility to greater accountability of public officials. Some participants drew cheers for raising more controversial topics, such as President Obama’s nationality, but others argued that those points were, at best, politically unproductive. Meghan McCain went further on Monday and called segments of the movement “racist.”

One choice that stands out is “Fruitless mix of racism, conspiracy theories,” which — hopefully — wasn’t worded to imply that there could be a potentially fruitful mix of the two.

Wonkette’s Jim Newell cracked, “What is this about ‘fruitless’ though? Racism and conspiracy theories have put the Republicans in great shape for 2010. If that’s ‘fruitless,’ then consider these teabaggers fruity.”

When Wonkette wrote the poll up Wednesday late afternoon there were 92,876 votes tallied, with 65% opting for “Fruitless mix” and 23% saying “Small government and responsibility.” Only 10% selected “Voicing outrage at out-of-touch politicians”, while 2% picked “Exposing Democrat’s socialist agenda.” Oddly enough, the poll says 1% selected “Other”, which puts the total at 101% for the sometimes-mathematically-challenged network.

At about an hour before noon on Thursday, 163,793 votes at the Fox poll put “Fruitless mix” even further on top with 76%.

Conservatives are complaining that “Reddit Loonies Hijack[ed the] FoxNews Poll”, while Democratic Underground members chortle at the “fun” results they helped elicit.

Last October, RAW STORY reported, “Using emails, community sites, political blogs and Tweets, conservatives have mounted a strike to ‘win’ an online NPR poll on the war between the White House and Fox News.”

The 2009 NPR poll asked “In White House Vs. Fox News War Of Words, Who Gets Your Vote?” Conservatives bragged in Tweets that they were helping spin the poll back in favor of Fox, while liberals fought on behalf of the Obama White House.

A Democratic Underground user complained, “We complain that people can vote more than once in this poll, but then we’re posting ‘DU this Poll’ here for every single poll we find online everyday. We complain about unscientific polls, but then we’re encouraging our fellow DU’ers to make every unscientific poll out there even more unscientific by flooding it with votes from DU. And for what? And if we’re worried about the ‘American Public’ getting a false impression of the nation’s views by a poll being ‘freeped,’ then what’s our excuse when we flood the same polls with our votes?”

A more scientific poll released on Thursday, conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News, shows that “few Americans say they know much about the ‘tea party’ movement, which emerged last year and attracted voters angry at a government they thought was spending recklessly and overstepping its constitutional power.”

But nearly two-thirds of those polled say they know just some, very little or nothing about what the tea party movement stands for. About one in eight says they know “a great deal” about the positions of tea party groups, but the lack of information does not erase the appeal: About 45 percent of all Americans say they agree at least somewhat with tea partiers on issues, including majorities of Republicans and independents.

….

The new poll shows Republicans divided about the tea party movement, which threatens to cause a rift in the lead-up to November’s midterm elections. Two-thirds of those calling themselves “strong Republicans” view the movement favorably, compared with 33 percent among “not very strong Republicans.”

Overall opinion is about evenly split, with 35 percent of all Americans holding favorable views of the movement and 40 percent unfavorable ones. A quarter expressed no opinion. Nearly six in 10 Democrats have unfavorable views, while independents are split, 39 percent positive and 40 percent negative.

“The new poll offers a portrait of tea party supporters as overwhelmingly white, mostly conservative and generally disapproving of Obama,” the Post reports.

The Post/ABC News poll didn’t contain any questions linking the movement to racism or conspiracy theories.

 
 
 
 
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