Now (finally!), a poll conducted by CNN gives us some hard data on the Tea Party Nation.
Neither “average Americans,” as they like to portray themselves, nor trailer-park “Deliverance” throwbacks, as their lefty detractors would have us believe, tea partyers are more highly educated and wealthier than the rest of America. Nearly 75 percent are college-educated, and two-thirds earn more than $50,000.
More likely to be white and male than the general population, Tea Partyers also skew toward middle age or older. That’s the tell.
The tell? Oh, that the Tea Party is composed of Baby Boomer white guys reliving their ’60’s protest heyday. Unfortunately for them, the more recent Quinnipiac poll undercuts their basic premise about a bunch of angry white guys leading the charge. Turns out, it’s a bunch of angry white women, as, according to the poll, 55% of Tea Party members are females and women have taken a leading role in many of the local organizations.
“For years, it has been the liberal women who have organized and been staunch grass-roots and policy advocates,” Rebecca Wales, a spokeswoman for Smart Girl Politics, a new group formed to train and mobilize women in the tea party movement. “No longer is it only the liberals. Conservative women have found their voices and are using them, actively and loudly.”
Melanie Gustafson, an associate professor of history at the University of Vermont who has studied and written about the role of women in politics, said the tea party has provided a more direct way for conservative women to have influence than the Republican Party, where she says “women have always struggled for inclusion.”