Shortly after a Kamikaze pilot in Texas drove his plane into building occupied by the Internal Revenue Service, leftist bloggers began to speculate, on very slender evidence, that the pilot may have been connected with Tea Party protestors. His obvious preference for communism over capitalism in a sign off letter he left behind soon spoiled that hastily constructed thesis. But the faulty thesis begs the question: Who are these people who call themselves Tea Party Patriots.
In an effort to arrive at an answered to that question, the National Review Institute commissioned McLaughlin & Associates to study two separate groups of Tea Party Patriots: the “6 percent of the 1,000 likely voters polled in mid-January who told McLaughlin that they had participated in tea-party rallies and the additional 47 percent who said they ‘have not participated in a tea party protest but . . . generally agree with the reasons for those protests.’”
The results of the study are certain to disappoint those on the left who feel constrained to demonize the group as a negligible fringe phenomenon.