First Study of Tea Party Movement

Citizens' billboard in Lake City, FL

The year-old Tea (Taxed Enough Already) Party movement is demonized by the Left as knuckle-dragging racists. The more subtle among the Left are more circumspect but still arch, such as this very l-o-n-g article, “At the Tea Party,” in the latest issue of New York Review of Books. 

Finally, we have an actual study on who and what Tea Party activists really are, conducted by a responsible organization — the nonprofit Sam Adams Alliance. Highlights of the findings:
  • The Tea Party movement is a truly new political phenomenon because many tea partiers are politically involved for the first time in their lives.
  • Tea Partiers are genuine patriots, motivated by concern for America’s wellbeing and responsibility for future generations.
  • Budget, the economy, and defense are their top concerns, not social issues.
  • Unlike previous populist movements in American history, the Tea Party movement is well informed and wired
  • There is not a single Democrat among the tea party activists surveyed by the study!

Study of Tea Party Activists Reveals Motivations of Political Movement

CHICAGO, March 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A new study released today reveals that Tea Party activists are motivated by feelings of responsibility to future generations and belief in America’s founding principles, but still struggle with questions of leadership and identity. The study conducted by Sam Adams Alliance, The Early Adopters: Reading the Tea Leaves, also reveals that Tea Party activists are a diverse group trying — often for the first time — to change the political landscape by holding elected officials more accountable. The results of the full report can be found at
The Sam Adams report offers the first-ever insights into the Tea Party movement that include a survey sample made up entirely of recognized Tea Party activists.
“A lot of surveys have focused on the Tea Party movement, but they’ve been about what others think of them, and don’t reveal the motives of actual Tea Partiers,” said Sam Adams Alliance chairman Eric O’Keefe. “We decided to learn what the Tea Party leaders are up to the old fashioned way: We asked them.”
The findings confirm that a large number of Tea Party activists are politically involved for the first time. 47% of activists surveyed said that they were “uninvolved” or “rarely involved” in politics before their participation in Tea Party groups.
Three political issues stood out as being the most important to Tea Party activists. When asked which issues were “very important” to them, 92% said “budget,” 85% said “economy,” and 80% said “defense.” No respondents listed social issues as an “important direction” for the movement.
Other findings of the study include:

  • 86% oppose the formation of a third-party.
  • 36% support a 2012 Sarah Palin Presidential candidacy.
  • 81% have a website for their organization.
  • 90% cited “to stand up for my beliefs” when characterizing their initial reason for involvement.
  • 62% identified as Republicans, 28% as Independents, 10% as “Tea Party”

Extensive interviews revealed that many are struggling with questions of leadership, purpose, and identity, but they are driven by an overwhelming, often personal, feeling that future generations’ well-being weighs on their shoulders. Many of those interviewed also referenced a need for better branding of the movement so they are not seen as extremists, and cited new friendships as one of the most rewarding benefits of involvement.
The results of the study are based on in-depth “laddering” interviews to determine activists’ core connections to the movement, and to understand what their hopes and fears are for the country and the Tea Parties themselves. The Early Adopters also included a survey of more than 50 Tea Party activists from around the country, and an analysis of 80 Tea Party leaders’ business cards to examine their use of color, word-choice, and self-described role.
For the full report findings, survey questions, methodology, and a preview video visit, or
Survey director Anne Sorock, and Sam Adams Alliance chairman Eric O’Keefe are available to discuss the report and its findings. To schedule an interview, please contact:
Evan Peterson
Sam Adams Alliance is a non-profit organization that works to raise awareness of free market principles and policies, and build capacity in marketing and public relations for individuals and organizations who support free-market ideas. For more information, visit
SOURCE Sam Adams Alliance

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