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“Tea Party” Is Seen Less Negatively As a Political Label

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Voters see “Tea Party” a bit less negatively as a political label these days, while “liberal” and “progressive” have lost ground even among Democrats.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that “conservative” is still the most favored description. Forty-two percent (42%) of Likely U.S. Voters say they view it as a positive if a candidate is described as politically conservative. Twenty-one percent (21%) say it’s a negative description, and 36% rate it somewhere in between the two. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Conservative, in fact, is the only political label other than “moderate” that is a net plus for a candidate.

Calling someone a Tea Party candidate is seen positively by 31%, unchanged from September, but negatively by 32%. Thirty-three percent (33%) put it somewhere in between. In September, 38% viewed Tea Party as a negative.

Being described as a progressive, on the other hand, is a positive for 22% of voters and a negative for 34%, with 41% seeing it in between. But in the previous survey, voters were evenly divided, with 29% saying progressive was a positive description and 28% describing it as a negative. This marks a continuing downward trend for progressive which little over three years ago was slightly more popular than conservative.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on January 3-4 2011 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.

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