Thursday, April 15, 2010

teabonic anger rooted in issues of "class"

NYTimes | Their fierce animosity toward Washington, and the president in particular, is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich.

The overwhelming majority of Tea Party supporters say Mr. Obama does not share the values most Americans live by, and that he does not understand the problems of people like themselves. More than half say the policies of the administration favor the poor, and 25 percent, compared with 11 percent of the general public, think that the administration favors blacks over whites. They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people.

Asked what they are angry about, Tea Party supporters offered three main concerns: the recent health care overhaul, government spending, and a feeling that their opinions are not represented in Washington.

“The only way they will stop the spending is to have a revolt on their hands,” Elwin Thrasher, a 66-year-old semi-retired lawyer in Florida, said in an interview following the poll. “I’m sick and tired of them wasting money and doing what our founders never intended to be done with the federal government.”

They are far more pessimistic than Americans in general about the economy improving. More than 90 percent of Tea Party supporters think the country is headed in the wrong direction, compared with about 60 percent of the general public. About 6 in 10 say America’s best days are behind us when it comes to the availability of good jobs for American workers.

Nearly 9 in 10 disapprove of the job Mr. Obama is doing overall, and about the same percentage fault his handling on the specifics, too: health care, the economy, and the federal budget deficit. More than 8 in 10 hold an unfavorable view of him personally, and 92 percent believe he is moving the country toward socialism – an opinion shared by about half the general public. Tea Party supporters are also more likely than most Americans to believe, mistakenly, that the president has increased taxes for most Americans.

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