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Calling Someone a Tea Party Candidate Has Bigger Impact than Traditional Labels

Rasmussen Reports

“Conservative” is still the most positive political label you can attach to a candidate. But voters now have stronger reactions—positive and negative– to the Tea Party label than they do to the more traditional labels.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters finds that 70% say their opinion of a candidate would be influenced by the Tea Party label. Sixty-one percent (61%) say the same about calling someone a conservative. Fifty-nine percent (59%) respond to calling a candidate liberal; 57% respond to the progressive label, and just 42% respond to calling a candidate politically moderate.

Democrats react more to the Tea Party label than to any other.  Democrats also react to the Tea Party label more strongly than Republicans or unaffiliated voters.

Overall, on a net basis, conservative remains the most positive label, while liberal is the most negative. See toplines for the specifics. Platinum Members get a deeper look at the numbers.

If a candidate is described as a “Tea Party member,” 32% see that label as a positive, while 38% hold the opposite view. That’s a net rating of negative six, making it less positive on balance than calling someone a conservative, moderate or progressive.

However, the Tea Party’s negatives are very heavily concentrated among partisan Democrats. Seventy percent (70%) of those in the president’s party say calling someone a member of the Tea Party would be a negative description.

Partisan Republicans like the Tea Party label but not as much as the conservative label. Just 54% of the GOP says calling someone a Tea Party member is a good thing.

Among unaffiliated voters, 35% consider the Tea Party label positive, while 34% say it’s a negative for them. That split decision means the Tea Party label is less popular among unaffiliateds than the term conservative. However, among unaffiliated voters, the Tea Party label is more positive than either progressive or liberal. It’s also perceived as a more positive label

Not surprisingly, 87% of the Political Class view Tea Party member as a negative description, while a plurality (48%) of Mainstream voters see it as a positive.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 14-15, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Overall, 38% consider it a positive when a political candidate is described as conservative. Twenty-three percent (23%) think of it as a negative, for a net positive rating of +15 percentage points. That’s comparable to attitudes found since November 2008.

To read more, visit: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/september_2010/calling_someone_a_tea_party_candidate_has_bigger_impact_than_traditional_labels

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