A new survey provides some interesting information about the tea party movement:
Four in 10 Tea Party members are either Democrats or Independents, according to a new national survey.
The findings provide one of the most detailed portraits to date of the grassroots movement that started last year.
The national breakdown of the Tea Party composition is 57 percent Republican, 28 percent Independent and 13 percent Democratic, according to three national polls by the Winston Group, a Republican-leaning firm that conducted the surveys on behalf of an education advocacy group. Two-thirds of the group call themselves conservative, 26 are moderate and 8 percent say they are liberal.
So what are we to make of this ?
Well, first it’s worth noting that party self-identification isn’t always an entirely reliable measure of where a person’s political beliefs actually lie. I would suspect that those Democrats and Independents lean more to the conservative side of the aisle than anything else.
Other interesting tidbits:
The group has a favorable view of Republicans generally but that drops from 71 to 57 percent if they’re asked about Congressional Republicans. Congressional Democrats are viewed very unfavorably by 75 percent of Tea Party members – a uniquely strong antipathy. An overwhelming 95 percent said “Democrats are taxing, spending, and borrowing too much.”
The group also vehemently dislikes President Barack Obama – even more so than those who called themselves Republicans in the survey. Over 80 percent of Tea Party members disapprove of the job he’s doing as president, whereas 77 percent of Republican respondents said they disapprove of Obama. The Tea Party members are also strongly opposed to the Democrats’ healthcare plan, with 82 percent saying they oppose it — only 48 percent of respondents overall were opposed.
Again, not surprising, especially when you take into account the fact that nearly half the respondents also reported getting most of their news from Fox News, and they appear to listen to talk radio more than the average voter.
The more important question is what impact the Tea Party will have on the political sphere, and we won’t know that until November.