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Spin Control

WA Poll: Tea Party fans unhappy with gov, Lege, support McKenna

People who strongly support the Tea Party are likely to strongly not suport the jobs that Gov. Chris Gregoire and the Legislature are doing, the health care reforms passed by Congress or the way things are going in the state in general, the Washington Poll reports.

They do support Attorney General Rob McKenna suing to overturn some of federal health care reforms, Dino Rossi or any Republican over incumbent Sen. Patty Murray and requiring a two-thirds vote to raise any taxes.

New survey results from The Washington Poll, which did interviews with 1,695 voters last month, suggest that there's not much difference between those who strongly support the Tea Party, and people who  identify themselves as Republicans. Nearly two thirds of those who identified themselves as Republicans said they either strongly approved or somewhat approved of the movement, while only 8 percent said they strongly or somewhat disapproved. (The rest said they had no opinon or never heard of the movement.)

The numbers were almost completely reversed for Democrats, with 8 percent either strongly or somewhat approving, and 64 percent somewhat or strongly disapproving. The independents were more evenly split, with 38 percent voicing some level of approval, 32 percent some disapproval, and 29 percent in the No opinion/never heard of columns.

Tea Party supporters tend to be much stronger in Eastern Washington, where almost half the respondents said they either "strongly approve" or "somewhat approve" of the movement.

Researchers for the University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Sexuality also compared the response of different blocks of Tea Party sentiment to the survey as a whole, and found those who "strongly support" the group were much more likely than other groups, or respondents as a whole, to say the state was on the wrong track, give Gregoire and the Legislature a thumbs down or McKenna's lawsuit a thumbs up.

More on the poll inside the blog

When it comes to the U.S. Senate race, Tea Party supporters and Republican voters as a whole weren't significantly different, backing Rossi or a generic Republican by wide margins. What pollsters called "true skeptics" of the Tea Party  -- meaning they said they strongly disapproved of the movement --  had about the same strong support for Murray as Democrats.

Rossi and the generic Republican do better than Murray with those who are dubbed "middle of the road" because they said they somewhat approve or disapprove of the Tea Party. The numbers are similar to the results for independents when asked about the Senate race. The biggest difference, and it's not huge, is that people who said they had no opinion or didn't know about the Tea Party were a bit more likely to go for Murray.

The Tea Party true believers were also far more likely to say they approve of the new immigration law in Arizona that allows police to ask for proof of citizenship and to say they disapprove of Obama's "policy of engaging with Muslim countries".

For more on the poll, click here.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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