The “Tea Party” movement is the best thing to hit US politics, for decades.
Now the Chicago based Samuel Adams Alliance has done a study of what the Tea Partiers are really about.
The news is mostly good.
A new study released today reveals that Tea Party activists are motivated by feelings of responsibility to future generations and belief in America’s founding principles, but still struggle with questions of leadership and identity. The study conducted by Sam Adams Alliance, The Early Adopters: Reading the Tea Leaves, also reveals that Tea Party activists are a diverse group trying “ often for the first time “ to change the political landscape by holding elected officials more accountable.
The Sam Adams report offers the first-ever insights into the Tea Party movement that include a survey sample made up entirely of recognized Tea Party activists.
“A lot of surveys have focused on the Tea Party movement, but they’ve been about what others think of them, and don’t reveal the motives of actual Tea Partiers,” said Sam Adams Alliance chairman Eric O’Keefe. “We decided to learn what the Tea Party leaders are up to the old fashioned way: We asked them.”
The findings confirm that a large number of Tea Party activists are politically involved for the first time. 47 percent of activists surveyed said that they were “uninvolved” or “rarely involved” in politics before their participation in Tea Party groups.
Three political issues stood out as being the most important to Tea Party activists. When asked which issues were “very important” to them, 92 percent said “budget,” 85 percent said “economy,” and 80 percent said “defense.” No respondents listed social issues as an “important direction” for the movement.
Other findings of the study include:
* 86 percent oppose the formation of a third-party.
* 36 percent support a 2012 Sarah Palin Presidential candidacy.
* 81 percent have a website for their organization.
* 90 percent cited “to stand up for my beliefs” when characterizing their initial reason for involvement.
* 62 percent identified as Republicans, 28 percent as Independents, 10 percent as “Tea Party”
Extensive interviews revealed that many are struggling with questions of leadership, purpose, and identity, but they are driven by an overwhelming, often personal, feeling that future generations’ well-being weighs on their shoulders. Many of those interviewed also referenced a need for better branding of the movement so they are not seen as extremists, and cited new friendships as one of the most rewarding benefits of involvement.
The results of the study are based on in-depth “laddering” interviews to determine activists’ core connections to the movement, and to understand what their hopes and fears are for the country and the Tea Parties themselves.
For the full report, including a video, go here