NYT/CBS Poll: 52% Say Obama Moving America Towards Socialism
April 15, 2010 - 7:32 PMA New York Times/CBS News poll found that a majority of Americans think President Barack Obama is moving the country toward socialism.
Published April 14, the poll surveyed the political, racial, and social opinions of both the general pubic and self-described members of the tea party movement. It found that while tea party participants are generally more conservative than the broader population, they are also better educated and slightly more successful.
The poll found that almost the entirety of the tea party movement – 92 percent – shared the views of most Americans that Obama was turning the United States into a socialist country.
The poll asked respondents specifically whether the president’s policies “are moving the country more toward socialism.” Fifty-two percent answered “toward socialism” while only 38 percent answered “not toward socialism.”
A mere six percent of self-described tea party Americans answered “not toward socialism.”
The poll also found that while tea party members generally shared the economic concerns of the broader population, this did not motivate their strong opposition to Obama. That opposition was based on the president’s policies, not on the poor economy or on other factors, such as the president’s race.
In fact, the racial attitudes of tea party members fell in line with those of the rest of the country, with 73 percent of tea party members saying that blacks and whites had an equal chance of success – a view held by 60 percent of Americans.
Tea party activists are strongly motivated by traditional conservative issues, such as the size of government and federal spending, according to the poll. Ninety-two percent of tea party members said they would prefer a smaller, less intrusive federal government to a larger one – a view they shared with 52 percent of Americans.
Eighty-nine percent of tea partiers thought that Obama has expanded government too much in trying to deal with the recession, an opinion which fell in line with the views of 50 percent of the country.
Tea party activists also agreed with the rest of the country – though in higher proportions – on the issue of federal bank bailouts. Seventy-four percent of tea partiers said the economy would have improved without the bailouts -- a view shared by 51 percent of Americans generally.
When it came to questions of who are tea party members, the poll found that 50 percent described themselves as “middle class” and 26 percent described themselves as “working class.” Only 29 percent of tea partiers do not have at least some college education, a figure that far outpaces the rest of the country, of which 47 percent have no college education.
Perhaps the most important statistic in this election year found that tea party activists were more likely than other Americans to favor the current two-party electoral system 52-48 percent.
The finding that should most worry incumbents who do not share tea party members’ views was that 97 percent of the activists are registered voters.
According to The New York Times, "(t)he nationwide telephone poll was conducted April 5-12 with 1,580 adults. For the purposes of analysis, Tea Party supporters were oversampled, for a total of 881, and then weighted back to their proper proportion in the poll. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for both all adults and Tea Party supporters, and it is higher for subgroups."