Surface Tension: Tea Parties and the Political Establishment

ImageGenEditor’s Note – An interesting analysis of the relationship that exists between the tea party and the political establishment. 

Not so sure about 40% of the ‘establishment’ identifying themselves as part of the tea party, seems a little ambitious.  At least at the local level.

Being just a few short weeks away from the mid-term election, one would suppose that this factors into the recorded responses.  It’d be very interesting to see a follow up survey after the election to see if the ‘establishment’ maintains its affection for the tea party.

OPP posted a survey last week that stated only 37 percent of Republicans expect the Tea Party to be a long-term political movement and about half of Republicans expect the movement to become less influential in the long run.  This fits into the idea that some have that the establishment is just placating the tea party movement while it has the influence to affect political aspirations, all the while, waiting for it to go away.

With 70% of the tea party movement expecting to be around long term, it seems someone is going to be in for a surprise!


SamAdams_logoSurface Tension: Tea Parties and the Political Establishment

Sam Adams Alliance

A comprehensive new study contrasting Tea Party activists and individuals working within traditional conservative political “Establishment” organizations shows the two entities are united on issue priorities, but differ when it comes to their level of enthusiasm and the Tea Party movement’s ability to accomplish its political goals.

 *   40 percent of Establishment conservatives identify as Tea Partiers

* When judging the political landscape today compared to 20 years ago, 59 percent of Establishment respondents say it is worse today; while 84 percent of Tea Party activists say it is worse today.

*   42 percent of the Tea Party activists “completely disagreed” with the Establishment’s reaction to Tea Party victories in the 2010 primaries; 25 percent of Establishment activists also disagreed.

*   Tea Partiers were generally satisfied with “Tea Party Candidates,” with Marco Rubio generating the highest satisfaction score of 6.4 out of 7.0 and Christine O’Donnell receiving the lowest at 5.6.  Among Establishment respondents, Mike Lee of Utah was most satisfactory with a 6.5, while O’Donnell earned the lowest at 3.6.

The study, Surface Tension: Tea Parties and the Political Establishment, from Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM), reveals that both the Establishment and Tea Partiers rank the Economy/Jobs, Defense and Budget as the most important issues, but only about 7 percent of Establishment respondents said the Tea Party knows how to accomplish its goals, while about 41 percent of Tea Party activists surveyed say this is true.

Despite these differences, 40 percent of Establishment respondents described themselves as “tea partiers.” Another 40 percent said they would not use the term to describe themselves.

The two entities seem to differ over how much the Establishment needs the Tea Parties. 42 percent of Establishment respondents said it was “very important” that Tea Partiers work with them, while almost 75 percent of Tea Party respondents said it was “very important” that the Establishment work with their movement.

“The results show us that the Tea Party movement, which has been able to influence primaries thus far, has also influenced the bedrock of the Establishment Right,” said Anne Sorock, director of marketing at SAM and research director of the study. “The tension between the two groups seems to be over whether experience or enthusiasm–or both–can solve the country’s problems.”

The Surface Tension data also shows the differences between Establishment and Tea Party candidate preferences in 2010 continuing into the 2012 presidential race.  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie won the most support among Tea Partiers surveyed, with Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint, and Mike Pence in a three-way tie for second. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is a favorite among Establishment players, with Mitt Romney in the number two spot.

Surface Tension included in-depth interviews and surveys with 118 Tea Party activists (defined in the report as “Citizenry”), and 97 individuals employed in government affairs, government agencies, legislatives offices, news media, think tanks and non-profit organizations (defined in the report as “Establishment”).

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