The Sam Adams Alliance, an organization that supports free market principles, has released a study that examines tea party leaders, their thoughts, and their motivations. It found that many tea party leaders are new to political activism, and having experienced empowerment, are ready to move to the next step of activism. “This is their time to act,” the report concludes.
While it is often thought that the tea party movement might blossom into a third party, that wasn’t the sentiment of those surveyed: “A striking 85.7 percent said ‘No’ when asked if they were in favor of moving in the direction of a Third Party.” Eric O’Keefe, Chairman of the Sam Adams Alliance, wrote in his letter introducing the analysis: “We found a deep distrust of current political leaders and both political parties, but strong understanding that practical considerations argue against a third party.”
Political party affiliation was largely Republican: “61.7 percent Republican, 27.7 percent Independent, and 10.6 percent Tea Party.”
Social issues were not important to the respondents. Instead, fiscal and economic issues are the focus: “91.7 percent said ‘budget’ is “very important, followed by the ‘economy’ at 85.4 percent, and ‘defense’ at 79.6 percent.”
The tea party leaders are relatively new to politics: “46.9% were uninvolved or rarely involved with politics prior to 2009.” Also: “Tea Party activists are for the most part new to this role. They are neither practiced nor polished in activism; but having experienced a taste of the empowerment that comes with action, they feel more than ever that this is their time to act.”
But tea party leaders are self-aware and want to advance the movement: “They are also motivated to take this to the next level — and are actively preparing for a phase two.”