Politics

Tea Partiers Wonder: What's In It For Me?

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It might be a mathematical necessity, that as the Tea Party idea/movement/self-identification grows, the more it will end up seeming like America itself. See these interesting poll results from the Winston Group, which polled 1,000 registered voters from December to February and found around 17 percent identifying themselves as Tea Partiers, with a majority–but not a huge majority, 57 percent–identifying themselves as Republicans. And while "libertarian" does not appear to have been a choice the polled were given in pigeonholing themselves ideologically, only 65 percent of the Tea Partiers (as opposed to 33 percent of all those polled) called themselves "conservative."

Tea Partiers are also more likely than all polled to be older, and to be men. They tend to be more middle-class, and to watch Fox. But what do they want, politically? A sample:

Put simply, the Tea Party movement espouses economic conservative values. This impacts their priorities in terms of policy.  When asked to name their top issue, rather than prioritize a variety of items, Tea Party members again assert their economic conservatism. While voters overall are extremely concerned with the economy and jobs, Tea Party members are over twice as likely to name "national deficit/spending" as their top issue.  The economy remains a top priority, but concern about the deficit is pronounced with this group, underscoring the unifying thread of economic conservatism that runs through the Tea Party movement. Additional questions illustrate that the Tea Party movement strongly links deficit with economic outcomes and as a result, the concern about the deficit/spending is a subset of concerns under economy and jobs….

Tea Party members are more concerned about rates of taxation and see more negative
consequences to increased taxes.  In the December 2009 New Models survey, when asked if they are "aware of anything that might occur to federal tax rates next year," some 56% of Tea Party members say that next year "taxes will go up/tax cuts will expire," a response given by only 33% of respondents overall. They also identify a personal consequence: 82% say that when tax provisions expire next year, taxes on people like them will increase, compared to 62% of overall respondents…..

Despite the concern over taxing and spending, there is tension that exists as a result of balancing the priorities of fiscal conservatism and job creation….when Tea Party members are asked to choose between two desirable  outcomes—a balanced budget or a 5% unemployment rate—their choice is no different from the  electorate as a whole….

In the abstract, the deficit is a serious concern of Tea Party members, yet a concrete reduction in unemployment is able to outweigh that concern. However, for many Tea Party members, it is precisely those fiscally conservative items like lower taxes and spending that will enable the economy to create jobs. Tax cuts are the preferred job creation strategy for Tea Party members….concern about the deficit remains closely tied to concern about the economy/jobs—because the deficit issue is linked to tangible economic outcomes.

At least among these polled, the Tea Partiers sound more like a new Perot movement–ideologically mixed disgruntled folk upset about government spending and taxes for personal reasons–than a burgeoning ideologically anti-state libertarian-leaning movement. This is not surprising, but it's interesting to see some solid-seeming polling on the question.

Selling libertarianism as of direct personal relevance/ benefit to the voter has long been a prescription of those who care about libertarian electoral victories; this poll seems to add weight to that belief. As to how to convince the average voter that a more libertarian government would be better for them, well, that seems like the same ideological and economic educational mission that the modern movement started with in the late 1940s with the founding of the Foundation for Economic Education, the first distinctly modern libertarian organization.

NEXT: "Unions have priced themselves out of a job"

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  1. Man From ‘Future’ Tries to Halt Hadron Collider

    http://crave.cnet.co.uk/gadgets/0,39029552,49305387,00.htm

    1. FTA

      Mr Cole was taken to a secure mental health facility in Geneva but later disappeared from his cell. Police are baffled, but not that bothered.

      1. Eloi. What a cool first name!

  2. The Tea Parties represent the death throes of the conservative movement in the United States. They are basically a bunch of privileged white people throwing a tantrum that they have to share the country with the rest of us.

    I mean, you would think they would support Barack Obama for cutting their taxes.

    1. “I mean, you would think they would support Barack Obama for cutting their taxes.”

      What?

      1. He’s spinning so fast he’s gone into Ludicrous Speed.

        1. Fuck you, I don’t want him. Oh, Scotch…now I see it was inevitable.

        2. He’s already gone to plaid.

          1. Surprised more Reason readers don’t actually look at the facts. Unless you make quite a bit of money, your taxes likely DID go down.

    2. bunch of privileged white people

      So the guys I interviewed last summer during a Tea Party protest, the ones wearing flannel and taking a noon-hour break from their jobs fixing cars and cutting wood, plus the Native Americans in the crowd, have a secret stash of money they didn’t tell me about?
      Great, Scotch. Now get back to your mom’s pussy.

      1. He’ll have to wait until Mr. Episiarch is done, which often takes a while.

    3. I was going to accuse Warty of creating you as an April Fool’s joke, but even my esteemed colleague isn’t cruel enough to inflict your mediocrity on us. YOU SUCK.

      1. Would it make you feel better if I sucked your cock?

      2. Don’t you dare libel me thusly. Even I have my limits.

    4. I like ice cream! Especially with chocolate sauce and whipped cream!

  3. ideologically mixed disgruntled folk upset about government spending and taxes for personal reasons

    IOW, racists.

  4. At least among these polled, the Tea Partiers sound…

    Important qualifier, since we’re talking about 170 people.

    1. Basically it’s the same sample size used for your average “Family Feud” survey.

      1. 18% of Tea Partiers answered “On a Boat” when asked: “Name a place you’d find a cooler of beer.”

  5. “Despite the concern over taxing and spending, there is tension that exists as a result of balancing the priorities of fiscal conservatism and job creation….when Tea Party members are asked to choose between two desirable outcomes – a balanced budget or a 5% unemployment rate – their choice is no different from the electorate as a whole….”

    And that question framed that way forces the respondent to buy into the presumption that Keynesean economcis actually works – which it doesn’t.

    In reality those are not competing priroties that need to be balanced because government spending does not create jobs on an overall net basis to begin with.

    1. Word. You’d think it’d be an obviously false choice (even for pollsters) when we have a trillion dollar deficit and 10% unemployment.

  6. Funny how it takes an independent group to actually REPORT on who and what the Tea Party is.
    The media twats would NEVER do this. Because they are twats.
    And I am one of them.

    1. Then let m e suck your cock. Mmmmmm mmmmmm….

  7. Hop Scotch — Which planet are you from again? Did you even read this article (‘only 65% described themselves as Conservatives’)? Would you care to back up your inane babblings with a wager on the outcome of the November elections?

  8. I have come to the conclusion that Scotch Hamilton is an aberration in space-time created by the reactivation of the LHC. You just don’t get anything that dense and prone to sucking without a black hole being involved somehow.

    1. Scotch Hamilton is Dan T.

      I think he’s become even more idiotic over time – it’s possible that he’s upset at some slight: maybe the guys at 4 chan ran him off their board for being to immature.

      1. No. They love my rim jobs too much.

  9. There’s an org whose mission is to shovel Keynesian shit into the news via fake poll analyses? WTF?

    Anyway, “burgeoning ideological movements” historically aren’t ever “anti-state libertarian-leaning” things. They’re rival gangs. It’s good that the TBAGRZ aren’t one. The randomly annoyed Perotistas roundaboutly gave us the last glimpse (in ’94) of anything like libertarianism any of us living will ever see.

  10. When Tea Party members are asked to choose between two desirable outcomes – a balanced budget or a 5% unemployment rate – their choice is no different from the electorate as a whole.

    Since we aren’t even remotely close to either of these, and have absolutely no prospect of getting to either any time soon, there’s no point in asking such a stupid question.

  11. Scotch Hamilton is Dan T.

    Then Dan T. is a Higgs boson.

  12. Someone show me a single picture of a sign that says they want more jobs.

  13. Captain Obvious here to point out that no one associates the Democrats with economic conservatism.

    The Republicans may have betrayed economic conservatism, but the Democrats have nothing to respond to that with… The Democrats do have name calling. They can call these people “racist” and especially “obstructionist”, but the only thing I’ve seen any notable Democrat do to try to assuage economic conservatives was when Obama called all the bankers in and gave them a spanking over executive pay…

    And executive pay/Wall Street bonuses isn’t really what this is about. That’s just throwing kerosene on the fire.

    It’s a bit like where the Republicans were in the 2008 election, when the anti-Iraq War sentiment was so high, and there was no one and nothing the Republicans could run to speak to that–with the lone exception of Ron Paul, who they basically ignored. The Democrats ran someone who’d actually spoke out against the War in 2002…

    I think that may prove to be the big difference between the Perot movement and the Tea Party this time–Ross Perot broke a chunk off Bush Senior’s conservative support by running against the Republicans…

    Obama broke off such a big chunk of Hillary Clinton’s support within the Democratic Party that she had to concede the nomination to Obama, and if the Republicans are smart, they’ll back a candidate that resonates with the Tea Party for the same reason–it’s run with the pack or split the pack in two.

    This Tea Party Express things is brilliant, by the way. There should be a race among Republicans to see who can get the most economically conservative the quickest, but for whatever reason we haven’t seen that yet.

    I mean, the Democrats may only have name calling to respond to this, but Republicans who aren’t on board with economic conservatism don’t even have that! For them, it’s just “pants on the ground”.

    1. “And executive pay/Wall Street bonuses isn’t really what this is about. That’s just throwing kerosene on the fire.”

      Obama pretended that’s what it’s about in his Today Show interview the other day. It was cute.

  14. the older tea parties (2007ish) were way different than the ones now. those had a more educated, less vitriolic, more peaceful crowd than the current legion of assholes who love medicare and social security yet decry government spending. Fuck you, old people.

    1. 2007-ish? No such animal, suh.

    2. I used to say stuff like that about Punk Rock.

      It is awesome when something is only accessible to a few people–and you’re one of those few people.

      Embrace change, dude. You’ll find another small pond to be a big part of someday. And if you don’t, you can always turn into your parents!

  15. Of course, one has to wonder where all of these Tea Partiers were before January of 2009 (if anyone can find an earlier gathering called a “tea party”, I will play Seven Minutes in Heaven with Steve Smith).

    A group of pissed-off middled-aged white Republicans who are mad because our massive deficits are going towards actually helping people rather than killing them overseas.

    1. Calling Sasquatch…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKZmIzEMUN8

      and if you need a lefty site: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/11/24/164246/85

      Hope you’re well lubed. He’s a beast.

      1. A Ron Paul moneybomb =/= a tea party rally. The first Tea Party rally was in February 2009, and it really took off on tax day 2009.

    2. Yeah, it’s all about helping people – that’s really what the government is there for, after all.

    3. Ah yes, we’re sending the country down the crapper, but we’re doing it for a good cause.

  16. Sucking your cock would really just be me masturbating.

    1. I had nothing to do with this statement.

  17. You can’t spell tea party without TARP/ARRA. It’s not fucking rocket science, people.

  18. It seems like there are a lot of welfare kings and queens freeloading off of government largess among the tea party people.

    1. They should burn their Medicare and Social Securtiy cards like the old anti-war guys burned their draft cards. That is, if they really believed what they say.

      1. yes! But every tea-partier I’ve seen interviewed wants to keep Medicare, Social Security, and maintain (or increase) military and security spending. Hypocrites.

  19. And while “libertarian” does not appear to have been a choice the polled were given in pigeonholing themselves ideologically

    Neither was “execrable racist”, I bet. I demand a repoll!

    1. You could always just write it in if you get polled again, Natty B.

  20. the Tea Partiers sound more like a new Perot movement–ideologically mixed disgruntled folk upset about government spending and taxes for personal reasons

    Huh. And here I was expecting mono-chromatic ideological purity, replicated en mass. Too bad, we could have started something like the clone wars.

    But don’t worry, if we wait long enough they’ll all see The Clone Light and agree with us and then everything will be fine.

  21. truth,,,,obama people have no idea of the extent to which they have to be gulled in order to be led.”
    “The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, for the vast masses of the nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad. The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one, for they themselves often tell little lies but would be ashamed to tell a big one.”
    “All propaganda must be so popular and on such an intellectual level, that even the most stupid of those towards whom it is directed will understand it. Therefore, the intellectual level of the propaganda must be lower the larger the number of people who are to be influenced by it.”
    “Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise.”pelosi don’t see much future for the Americans … it’s a decayed country. And they have their racial problem, and the problem of social inequalities …obama feelings against Americanism are feelings of hatred and deep repugnance … everything about the behaviour of American society reveals that it’s half Judaised, and the other half negrified. How can one expect a State like that to hold TOGTHER.They include the angry left wing bloggers who spread vicious lies and half-truths about their political adversaries… Those lies are then repeated by the duplicitous left wing media outlets who “discuss” the nonsense on air as if it has merit? The media’s justification is apparently “because it’s out there”, truth be damned. STOP THIS COMMUNIST OBAMA ,GOD HELP US ALL .THE COMMANDER ((GOD OPEN YOUR EYES)) stop the communist obama & pelosi.((open you eyes)) ,the commander

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