The latest poll covering Tea Party preferences reveals a less antagonistic view toward the federal government than many would have predicted. The Selzer & Co. poll interviewed over 1,000 nationwide respondents, including Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and self-proclaimed Tea Party adherents.
Here are some of the pertinent highlights from Tea Party responders:
More than 90% of Tea Partiers believe America is verging more toward socialism than capitalism; 70%, however, want a federal government that fosters job creation (which likely means they want the goverment to lower taxes & incentivize the private sector)
Almost 50% want the federal government to rein in Wall St executive bonuses
80% believe expansion of the government's role into the economy is a real threat, with about 33% citing deficit spending as a critical concern (so why weren't they protesting during the Bush years when the size of government grew, deficit spending exploded, and Wall St firms started getting bailed out?)
90% believe both parties behave badly
86% say taxes are too high, compared to 57% of other respondents
Less than 10% believe the Veterans Administration is socialistic, while 36% believe expanding Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security amounts to socialism; nearly 50% want to keep Social Security and Medicare under government control, however
78% believe some form of government-run healthcare is definitely a form of socialism
While Tea Party supporters appear extremely resistant to government-run healthcare, higher taxes, profligate spending, and an expanding federal government, they are surprisingly supportive of government intervention in regulating Wall St salaries, as well as government supervision of key entitlement programs.
Also, based on the response rate regarding the Veterans Administration, it is likely that most Tea Party supporters would support the massive government expansion in the national security arena, as it pertains to the Department of Homeland Security, intelligence agencies, private war contractors, and the overseas wars. To be fair, though, Tea Party adherents would likely argue that national defense is one of the few, clear-cut responsibilities of the federal government.
All in all, these poll numbers may surprise some people. As the stats show, the Tea Party may not be as dogmatic in its anti-government views as is commonly portrayed by certain media outlets.