After months upon months of enthusiastic, cheer-leading coverage of any rally that involved tea, tea bagging or tea partying, the Fox News network has miraculously disproved itself by producing a new poll that finds Americans think more highly of the Internal Revenue Service than they do the vocal conservative minority.
Atop the fourth page of a Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll released April 8, the questioner explains that respondents would be read a series of names and asked whether their opinion is positive or not. The most popular among the names is Barack Obama, who scored a 50 percent approval rating. Second was the Internal Revenue Service, at 49 percent.
Down below Democrats and even below Republicans is the "Tea Party," at 36 percent approval. This particular poll's questions reference the "Tea Party" as though it were a unified group, akin to a third party actor, instead of what it really is: a disparate collection of middle to fringe right wing groups that originally came together as an organizing platform for Congressman Ron Paul, but were popularly coopted and briefly organized by old guard Republicans into a series of loud and angry demonstrations against the health reform laws.
Naturally, ratings for individual political leaders were lower than ratings given to entire political parties, but when asked about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, respondents were especially harsh, giving them 16 and 29 percent favorability, respectively.
The only single politician who scored lower than Democratic leadership was House Minority Leader John Boehner, one of the GOP's top men and a key public face for the party, with just 12 percent approval.
Naturally, Fox News went on to ask poll respondents questions like how in-line they think their values are with the "Tea Party" and whether they were less likely to vote for their congressperson if they cast a yes ballot on health reform. They also asked people to rate how health reform made them "feel," set to a scale of "good" or "bad," and if they "feel" like the United States' economy will suffer because of the new laws.
The placement of the IRS in double-digits over the "Tea Party" in favorability is startling, especially considering how vocal most of the group's loudest activists are concerning taxes. Though virtually all lower and middle class Americans received a tax cut by President Obama, 90 percent of tea party respondents to a February CBS poll were oblivious to this fact.
"FoxÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s poll finding is particularly humorous considering that a recent conservative attack on health care reform has been toÃ‚Â falsely claim that it would lead to the hiring of 16,500 IRS agents to enforce the law," noted Matt Corley, writing for Think Progress. Ã¢â‚¬Å“'I suspect every Republican candidate will campaign on a promise to cut off all funding in January for the 16,000 IRS agents,' said Newt Gingrich recently. 'You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t needÃ‚Â a health Gestapo in the United States.'Ã¢â‚¬Â
In a separate CBS poll released Thursday, the network found that most Americans have a negative opinion of Sarah Palin, which the news organization called "a sort of spokesperson" for the tea parties.
According to their analysis, 38 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of the former politician, whereas just 24 percent like her. Among Republicans that rating is much higher: 43 percent view Palin favorably, while another 41 percent either didn't have enough information or simply could not decide.
Because of her recent speech to the 67th annual Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America expo (which receivedÃ‚Â rather bitter reviews), Palin was offered $25,000 by Nevadans for Sensible Marijuana Laws to give a short pep talk to their group. Ã¢â‚¬â€¹"There's no reason why former Governor Palin should reject our offer," a spokesman jokingly said, citing how much safer cannabis is than alcohol.
One possible reason why she'd decline: according toÃ‚Â The New York Times,Ã‚Â Palin chargesÃ‚Â up to $100,000 per appearance --Ã‚Â something that even tea partiers have chided her for and a fee the alcohol purveyors presumably paid.
Though she did not address any issues specific to the wine and spirits industries, Palin did emphasize one term in particular during her speech to the conference. According to Tom Wark's wine blog, she was all about "deregulation" in a fuzzy, non-specific sense: likely the wrong theme to employ while speaking to a room of professionals who serve an industry that strongly supports special regulations springing from the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, which Palin would now appear to be against, just on general principle.