Poll: Most Democrats See Tea Party as 'Economic Terrorists'

Twenty-nine percent of Americans say the Tea Party threatens the economy.

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With the Democrats and media rapping the Tea Party as economic terrorists during the debt ceiling debate and subsequent S&P downgrade of American debt, a new poll finds that a majority of Democrats agree that the conservative fringe is to blame for the nation's economic woes, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll. But just as significantly, when all likely voters are lumped in, including key independents, only 29 percent call the Tea Party "economic terrorists."

[See political cartoons about the Democrats.]

"While 53 percent of Democrats view Tea Party members as terrorists, 57 percent of voters not affiliated with either major party disagree, as do 74 percent of Republicans," says the poll.

The Tea Party ducks the terrorist label, but the poll isn't great news because 43 percent believe that party made things worse in the nation during the budget debates.

[Check out political cartoons about the Tea Party.]

Highlights of the new poll:

— 55 percent of likely voters say members of the Tea Party are not economic terrorists; 29 percent do and 16 percent are undecided.

— 53 percent of Democrats view Tea Party members as terrorists, 57 percent of voters not affiliated with either major party disagree, as do 74 percent of Republicans.

— 53 percent of Republicans believe the Tea Party has made things better, while 73 percent of Democrats feel it has made things worse. Unaffiliated voters are evenly divided with 37 percent saying the Tea Party made things better and 37 percent worse.

— 34 percent of all voters in separate polling favored tax hikes as part of the deal to raise the debt ceiling; 55 percent opposed including tax increases of any kind in the deal.

[See editorial cartoons about the budget and deficit.]

— Among those who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement, 92 percent feel they are not economic terrorists, and 76 percent think they've made things better for the country in terms of the budget debate. Those who are not members of the movement are narrowly divided over the terrorist question, and 58 percent of this group think the Tea Party has made things worse for the country.