Some members of the “tea party” have struck back at media bias against the grass-roots political movement and critics who derisively dismiss the group as violent “hicks,” opportunists, “teabaggers” or worse.
“We decided to learn what tea party leaders are up to in the old-fashioned way. We asked them. We met in person with leaders from 38 states, we collected survey data from 49 leaders,” said Eric O’Keefe, chairman and CEO of the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance, a nonprofit group that espouses free-market principles.
The group on Tuesday released a survey of its findings that revealed that tea party activists are neither “political junkies or crusty right-wing extremists.” Almost half the respondents had never been involved with politics prior to 2009.
Yes, they are angry, the survey found.
But the majority also has a strong desire to “stand up for my beliefs,” with 90 percent citing that motivation as “very important.” Another 70 percent hoped that they had “a positive impact on the country,” along with clout in the polling booth: 84 percent said “to influence elections” was also very important to them.
Few want to break out as a solo entity: Eight-out-of-10 are not interested in forming a third political party; 62 percent, in fact, said they were Republicans and 28 percent were independents. Just one-in-10 declared they belonged to the “Tea Party.”
Read More: By Jennifer Harper, Washington Times