Two leaders of the Tea Party Patriots shrug off polls that suggest a loss of tea party support, particularly among independents, and say Thursday’s rally in Washington, D.C., was an unambiguous indication the party is equally hard on Democrats and Republicans, and remains nonpartisan.
“I’m not concerned about it — we're seeing growth within the movement,” Jenny Beth Martin
, a Tea Party Patriots national coordinator and co-founder, said Thursday on MSNBC. “I talked to people today from West Virginia who started like eight months ago, and they had four people at their first meeting — and now they have 2,000 people in their group,” she said. “We're growing.
“I think that today's rally shows that we’re hard on Republicans and Democrats, so hopefully the people who are independent, who maybe have lost that messaging, will realize we still — we’re still nonpartisan,” Martin added.
Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler concurred, adding he is not worried about a recent poll, which showed the number of voters who view the tea party unfavorably is on the rise. The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday shows 32 percent of the public has a favorable view of the tea party movement — down five points since December — while 47 percent have an unfavorable view, up four points in the same time period.
“You know, I`m really not worried about it. First of all, let`s remember this is a single poll — I don`t trust any single poll,” Meckler said. “So you got a CNN poll that`s been touted by [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid as the demise of the tea party movement. But you`re talking a 32 percent favorable — even in a CNN poll — when Harry Reid himself has a 13 percent favorable in Congress. I`ll take those comparative numbers any day.
“The American people are with us, and they are against people like Harry Reid in Congress that are spending away the future,” he said.
On a possible government shutdown, Martin was asked if tea party loyalists in Congress become instrumental in operations ceasing on April 8, wouldn’t the American people view it as another Washington game. Martin said it was the lame-duck Congress in 2010 and the White House who had made a mockery of the budget process.
“It does look like a Washington game, and it’s too bad that Congress and the White House are willing to let that happen — we haven’t had a budget pass since 2009,” she said. “This budget, the continuing resolution we’re talking about, is for this fiscal year that started in October of last year — October 1st of 2010!
“Why haven’t they done what they're supposed to do?”
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