- Step 1: Learn the origins of the movement Learn the impetus for the formation of the Tea Party movement -- excessive government spending and taxation. Tea Party members believe in fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets.
- TIP: Despite their calls for "smaller government," the majority of Tea Party supporters don't want cuts to Social Security or Medicare.
- Step 2: Know some vital stats Know what the average Tea Party member looks like -- polls indicate that 88 percent are white, 55 percent are female, and 75 percent are over age 45.
- Step 3: Forget the stereotype Forget the stereotype of Tea Partiers as poor and uncultured. 20 percent earn more than $100,000 a year and 37 percent hold advanced degrees.
- Step 4: Know their position on civil liberties Know their positions on civil liberties: a small-sample phone survey showed Tea Party members are less strongly opposed to government detainment, surveillance, and racial or religious profiling than Tea Party opponents.
- Step 5: Understand their feelings on equal opportunity Understand their feelings on equal opportunity: according to a telephone survey, 60 percent of white Tea Party supporters agreed that America has "gone too far in pushing equal rights" as opposed to 23 percent of white Tea Party opponents. And Tea Partiers are less likely to agree with the statement, "We don't give everyone an equal chance in this country."
- Step 6: Realize they're not Republicans Realize that only about half of Tea Party supporters are registered Republicans. 43 percent are registered independents and 8 percent are declared Democrats.
- FACT: 15 percent of Tea Party members voted for President Barack Obama in 2008.
You Will Need
- Open mind
- Survey data