A recent poll published by The Hill on 4 April:
The national breakdown of the Tea Party composition is 57 percent Republican, 28 percent Independent and 13 percent Democratic, according to three national polls by the Winston Group, a Republican-leaning firm that conducted the surveys on behalf of an education advocacy group. Two-thirds of the group call themselves conservative, 26 are moderate and 8 percent say they are liberal.
Of course, just because most Tea Partiers are Republicans doesn’t mean most Republicans are Tea Partiers, but in the game of public perception I’d say 2008 G.O.P. Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin and her employer Fox, building on the groundwork laid by Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, and others, have between them redefined the G.O.P. before our eyes. The latest installment of this process will come tomorrow on Boston Common.
The election of Tea Party candidate Scott Brown notwithstanding, I have difficulty seeing how this can serve the long-term interests of the Republican Party, especially if the economy continues to improve.
The Coffee Party, as just one example, has 199,993 Facebook fans since 26 January 2010 (over 65,000 per month, counting all of January) while its alternative the Tea Party has 165,111 since March 2009 (about 12,000 per month). That suggests that the Coffee Party, as measured by real Facebook numbers rather than the impressions of Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, is around 500 percent more popular than the Tea Party, even without the patronage of the News Corporation and its mouthpiece Fox.