The tea party will  Just as a ham sandwich can be indicted with a little effort, any poll can be skewed depending on the pre-conceived notions of the poll takers, the wording of the questions, the tone of the questioners, etc.

With that in mind, when a political poll is conducted by CBS News and the New York Times it’s immediately suspect.  When the subject of that poll is the participants in the TEA Party phenomenon now sweeping the nation, one should always take the results with a hefty grain of salt.

Nevertheless, the results are interesting even given the decidedly leftist nature of the pollsters.

Based on 1580 respondents in a random telephone sample. of whom 56% were TEA Party supporters, the poll was conducted April 5th-12th.  Some of the highlights: 

.  45% believed the main goal of the TEA Partiers was “to reduce the role of government;”

.  56% had never been active in politics before and only 40% favor a third political party;

.  63% designated the Fox News Channel as their primary source of political news;

.  84% felt their views reflected the views of most Americans;

.  59% were men, 75% were over 45, 89% were white, 70% had at least some college, 76% made over 50 K;

.  54% were Republican, 61% protestant, 41% were Independents, 38% went to church weekly, 54% had guns in the household;

.  Of TEA Party activists, 72% were angry about Washington, 96% think Obama is doing an awful job, three quarters approve of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.

(For the full poll results, see

What conclusions about the TEA Party may be drawn from all those numbers?

First, they are people who are unhappy campers and believe most Americans agree with them, which seems pretty accurate.

Second, most prefer Fox News to the drive-by, liberal media outlets such as broadcast media, CNN, MSNBC– again no surprise.

Third, most are white, middle-aged and older, educated, and have a decent income which suggests they’re not dependent on government handouts and are among the 53% of Americans who pay federal income taxes.

Fourth, far from all are Republicans and the very significant number of Independents (41%) doesn’t bode well for Democrats in 2010 or 2012.

Finally, on a personal note, like some TEA Partiers, after working for 41 years and paying into FICA all that time, I’m now retired and, yes, I do collect Social Security, a poor return on a forced investment. 

Where do I join the TEA Party?