Estes Park, CO: The state news is filled with progressive activists who are supporting “Occupy Denver” and “Occupy Boulder.” Monday night, the Estes Park Tea Party Patriots occupied the Village Pizza in Estes Park to conduct a Presidential straw poll. Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith attended the event, joking that his presence was necessary due to the boisterous demonstrations of the attendees.
Businessman Herman Cain occupied the hearts of local Tea Party activists, capturing 59% of the votes. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney took second, with 17%. Michelle Bachmann and a write-in for “undecided” each captured 7%, and Ron Paul attracted 5%. Other candidates collectively received 5% of the votes.
The GOP straw poll attracted most of the participants, with 86% of the responses. Nine percent of the respondents were unaffiliated and 5% were Democrats. One-third of unaffiliated voters wrote in “Anybody but Obama.” None of the Democrats marked Barack Obama as their choice, despite him being the only Democratic name on the ballot.
The majority of Tea Party supporters (59%) see “government spending and power” as the most important issue facing the nation, with another 22% choosing “business and the economy.” Just 8% identified “social issues and moral values” as a top issue, and 3% chose “national security and foreign policy.”
Respondents overwhelmingly saw President Obama’s jobs bill as harmful. Sixty-six percent believed the jobs bill would hurt the economy and unemployment rate a lot, 13% thought it would hurt a little, and 19% thought it would not matter for the economy.
Respondents also weighed in on elements of the Obama jobs bill. Giving temporary federal tax credits and temporary payroll tax waivers to employers who hire new employees won measurable support, with 24% favoring it, but 62% opposed. The rest of the respondents were neutral or undecided.
Other elements of the Obama jobs bill gained even stronger opposition. Seventy-five percent opposed providing federal funding for public works projects, including repairs and maintenance of public schools. Tea Party supporters place an emphasis on local & state control and funding of public works projects. Tea Party groups have voiced strong opposition to the practice of federal earmarking, which is seen as promoting pork barrel projects.
Over 70 people attended the Tea Party event, with almost everyone participating in the straw poll. In 2008, about 450 people attended the GOP Presidential Caucus in Estes Park.
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