WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 12: A woman dressed as Sarah Palin poses with other activists during a rally on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol Building on September 12, 2010 in Washington, DC. Members of the Tea Party and other activists gathered at the 'Remember In November' Rally to protest large government and rally for conservative principals nearly two months before US midterm elections. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

A new poll released this week soundly contradicts critics’ claims that the tea-party movement is “fringe,” “white” and “racist.”

PJTV’s Tea Party Tracking Poll has monitored nationwide sentiments toward the tea party on a weekly basis since Aug. 2. The poll’s most recent reports reveal the following results:

  • The number of people who identify as “members” of the tea party has more than tripled over the last month alone, up to 21 percent of likely voters;
  • Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they support the tea parties based on the movement’s positions on the issues;
  • Among the likely voters who are black, 32 percent said they would vote for a candidate backed by the tea parties.

The last statistic caught the attention of PJTV.

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“Questions of racism within the tea party have been raised for months now,” said PJTV’s Polling Director Vik Rubenfeld in a statement. “Our survey found that more than one in three African-Americans support the movement. Moreover, the data revealed that 32 percent are also likely to vote for a congressional candidate whom the tea party supports.”

Joe Hicks, PJTV host and former executive director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said the poll “shows that, for many black voters, race no longer serves as a rationale for supporting policies that undermine their economic interests.”

“Democrats and leftists have attempted to define the tea-party movement as a collection of angry white bigots,” he said. “However, the PJTV poll of black voters shows the wheels on the race-card bus are beginning to fall off.”

PJTV’s Tea Party Tracking Poll uses Pulse Opinion Research – which conducts automated polls for businesses, media outlets and even Rasmussen Reports – to monitor opinions toward the tea parties from sample groups of 1,000 respondents, including a special analysis of 543 likely voters who identify as African-American.

In the Aug. 8 poll, while 24 percent of respondents claimed to have friends and family who were members of tea parties, only 6 percent took the title for themselves.

But the number of self-identifying “members” grew, such that by Sept. 12, barely more than one month later, 21 percent claimed to be members of the tea parties.

Also trending upward is outward support for the movement.

On Aug. 8, of the likely voters who identified as tea-party members, only 34 percent said they supported the movement publicly, while 53 percent admitted they only supported the movement privately.

In the last month, however,  proportion of tea partiers who support the movement publicly has risen to 44 percent.

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