Tea Party sympathizers are against government “socialism” except when it comes to their own jobs, a new poll has found.
Seventy percent of those who identify as Tea Partiers — a platform that strongly decries government intervention in public life — want an interventionist government to create jobs, and only about one in three believe Medicaid and Medicare are “socialist” programs, according to a new Bloomberg poll.
“Tea Party activists, who are becoming a force in U.S. politics, want the federal government out of their lives except when it comes to creating jobs,” the wire notes wryly.
“More than 90 percent of Tea Party backers interviewed in a new Bloomberg National Poll say the U.S. is verging more toward socialism than capitalism, the federal government is trying to control too many aspects of private life and more decisions should be made at the state level,” it adds. “At the same time, 70 percent of those who sympathize with the Tea Party, which organized protests this week against President Barack ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s health-care overhaul, want a federal government that fosters job creation.”
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The ideas that find nearly universal agreement among Tea Party supporters are rather vague,Ã¢â‚¬Â J. Ann Selzer, the pollster who created the survey, is quoted as saying. Ã¢â‚¬Å“You would think any idea that involves more government action would be anathema, and that is just not the case.Ã¢â‚¬Â
And it turns out when it comes to putting money in Americans’ pockets — Tea Partiers aren’t so opposed to government intervention, or tend to look the other way.
“Fewer than 10 percent say the Veterans Administration is definitely socialist, 12 percent identify management of national parks and museums, and 36 percent say expanding Medicare for the elderly, Medicaid for the poor and Social Security amount to socialism,” Bloomberg notes.
Even 35 percent don’t see Social Security as socialist: 65 percent said Social Security was “either definitely or sort of socialism.” But 47 percent still wanted to keep it under government control (and just 53 percent supported Social Security privatization).
The Bloomberg poll (available here in PDF) was conducted Mar. 19-22 and included 1,002 Americans over the age of 18. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.