Though Tea Partiers are often decribed as "radical," disproportionately white, or poorly educated, a new Gallup poll concludes that its members are "fairly mainstream" and "generally representative of the public at large." Tea Party supporters (28 percent of respondents) may be "decidedly Republican and conservative in their leanings," Gallup found, but in terms of age, education, job status, and race, their demographics align pretty closely with the country at large. How valuable is this poll?
The Tea Party has arrived: Looks like the media can't use "Tea Party" as "a byword for crazy, fringe, offensive, sign-bearing Americans" anymore, says Glynnis MacNicol in Mediaite. Tea Partiers may be angry, but they're "everyday Americans" — and they're "definitely here to stay." Look to see more politicians address the Tea Party movement "with increasing sincerity" now.
"Look to your left, look to your right…Everyone is a Tea Partier!"
They're mainstream... Republicans: How "representative of the public at large" can the Tea Party be when "the movement does not encompass Democrats...or more than half of true Independents?" asks Marc Ambinder in The Atlantic. I'd argue that the Tea Partiers who identify themselves as Independents in this poll are really "Republican-oriented conservative voters who are dismayed by the direction of the GOP and who don't want to identify with the party's brand."
"Tea Partiers are conservative. Moving along..."
The most helpful revelation is that Tea Partiers are "boring": It's a good thing the commentariat is finally realizing that the Tea Party didn't "arise spontaneously from an aroused populace," says Ed Kilgore in Progressive Fix. Hopefully everyone will stop treating these "same old conservative Republicans" as anything new or exciting.
"End of a delusion"
PREVIOUS OPINION BRIEFS ON THIS TOPIC:
• A Tea Party assassination plot?
• Is the Tea Party "disturbingly racist"?
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
- Why America won't have enough money to battle ISIS
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 11 facts yü should know about the umlaut
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
Subscribe to the Week