CNN posted a poll today on the Tea Party that paints a pretty clear demographic picture. The Tea Party is, as expected, a subsection of the Republican Party. The pollsters guess roughly 5 percent of Americans have attended a Tea Party gathering of some sort. The Tea Party is not so popular in the Chardonnay-sipping North East, nor really in the South, where the GOP is likely indistinguishable from the Tea Party. Like the national GOP, the Tea Party is heavily male. It’s also only 2 percent Black and 10 percent Latino.
The Tea Party aims to set itself up as a third party. The demographics suggest, however, that the Tea Party is a clear wing of the Republican Party. One key statistic, the stat describing the highest number of Tea Partiers, is the one that say nearly 90 percent of Tea Partiers votes Republican in the last Congressional election.
So the problem, as GOP candidates stumping across Colorado can tell you (see Jane Norton and Scott McInnis in particular), is that genuine Tea Party candidates would siphon almost all their votes away from Republican candidates. The solution, as we’ve seen on the ground in Colorado, is for Republican candidates to simply run on a joint Tea Party/GOP platform, as if the parties stood for the same thing, which they do now by almost every measure, especially as the GOP is presently defining itself– that is, as anti-establishment, outsider, anti-government. The fact that laughably insider candidates like longtime government official and lobbyist Norton and six-term Congressman McInnis are presenting themselves as grassroots outsiders demonstrates the weight the still-fringe Tea Party movement is swinging in its wrestling match with the GOP.
From the poll:
Hat tip to Dave Weigel.