Myth-busting polls: Tea Party members are average Americans, 41% are Democrats, independents
For upwards of 12 months now members of the so-called Tea Party protest movement have been stereotyped, derogated and often dismissed by some politicians and media outlets.
They've been portrayed variously as angry fringe elements, often inarticulate, potentially violent and merely Republicans in sheep's clothing or disgruntled pockets of conservatives blindly lashing out at a left-handed President Obama and the same side of his Democratic Party finally getting its chance to drive home a liberal agenda after eight years of Republican rule and six under a centrist Bill Clinton.
Alas for stereotypes, they're convenient, often catchy. But not necessarily true.
Now, comes a pair of polls, including Gallup, that paint a revealing detailed portrait of Tea Party supporters in most ways as pretty average Americans. A Sunday poll -- actually three national phone surveys of 1,000 registered voters -- found that 17% of all polled, or more than 500, called themselves "part of the Tea Party movement."
"It's a good sample size," David Winston, polling director of the Winston Group that did the poll for an education advocacy group, told the Ballot Box blog of The Hill newspaper.
The Tea Party adherents broke down 28% independent, 17% Democrat and only 57% Republican. Not coincidentally, this bipartisan breakdown has been the way that Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin has often described movement members as "commonsense Americans" worried and....
...angered by the over-reaching one-party control of Democrats in Washington these last 15 months, rooted initially in opposition to Obama's $787 billion government economic stimulus package.
A new Gallup Poll out this morning of 1,033 finds nothing fringe about self-proclaimed Tea Party adherents; they are slightly more likely to be employed, male and definitely more conservative. But otherwise Gallup's Lydia Saad writes, "their age, educational background, employment status, and race -- Tea Partiers are quite representative of the public at large."
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