Who’s Mainstream and Who’s Fringe?

By: June 03, 2011

America is a highly polarized nation.

We hear that all the time, but is it accurate? Last week, The Daily Caller reported on a Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll that showed 65% of America supports a balanced budget amendment, while only 27% oppose it.

That’s not highly polarized.

The Hill conducted a poll on raising the debt ceiling (which just suffered a massive defeat in the U.S. House), and found a nearly identical split at 62-27% opposed the measure, including 64% of independents and a plurality of Democrats. Want more? Gallup conducted a similar poll and found the split to be 47-19% against raising the debt ceiling.

That’s not highly polarized.

CBS News conducted a poll on cutting spending vs. raising taxes to reduce the federal deficit and found that 77% of Americans prefer cutting spending, while only 9% want taxes raised.*

That’s not only not highly polarized, it’s almost totally unified.

What do all these issues—a balanced budget, a frozen debt ceiling, reduced spending, and low taxes—have in common? They are straightforward applications of the core Tea Party principles of constitutionally limited government and fiscal responsibility.

These polls aren’t anomalies and they aren’t the only issues that the American public agrees with us on. I continue to be struck by just how much they are with us on issue after issue. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising, though, considering that conservatives outnumber liberals in America by a 2-1 margin (according to Gallup). And this has been the case for a long time. An e-book that catalogs the broad support across all political demographics for basic Tea Party policies would make an excellent addition to the Voices of the Tea Party series.

President Obama and his allies often call Tea Partiers fringe (when they’re feeling magnanimous enough to refrain from calling us by a sexual slur), but when even significant numbers of regular Democrats are supporting basic Tea Party ideology—whether they know it or not—it’s hard to argue that our movement isn’t mainstream. It is President Obama and his allies—who support a severely unbalanced budget, hiking the debt ceiling by well over $2 trillion, raising taxes, and blowing up record spending even more—who are on the fringe of every major issue facing the nation today.

*The specifics of what to cut is where Americans disagree. We will ultimately need to find common ground and work together, but for now the Tea Party can confidently claim that we have handily won the argument that Federal Government is too big and needs substantial cuts.

Jon Wakefield is a leader of the Richmond, Virginia  Tea Party

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