Oh sure, there's distrust in the president that bears marks of irrationality, and folks like John Avlon are all too happy to point it out to you (see, "Scary New GOP Poll"); and from Janet Napolitano on down, any plain Middle American tea party protester is equivalent to Timothy McVeigh and genuine right wing extremists (Frank Schaeffer's got the latest on that, "The Evangelical "Mainstream" Insanity Behind the Michigan 'End Times' Militia"). And what the heck! We can add Digby to the mix here, with her latest Frank Rich-style histrionics against protesters scheduled to converge on D.C. on April 19th (that's the anniversary of Waco and Oklahoma City, and that's all you need to know).
But take away all the disinformation and demonization, and the hard, cold fact remains: Tea partiers are just regular folks worried that the nation's abandoned its Constitutional founding, and that liberty's at risk of slipping away. To that effect, see Gallup's new poll, "Tea Partiers Are Fairly Mainstream in Their Demographics":
Tea Party supporters skew right politically; but demographically, they are generally representative of the public at large. That's the finding of a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted March 26-28, in which 28% of U.S. adults call themselves supporters of the Tea Party movement.Well, God have mercy!
Tea Party supporters are decidedly Republican and conservative in their leanings. Also, compared with average Americans, supporters are slightly more likely to be male and less likely to be lower-income.
In several other respects, however -- their age, educational background, employment status, and race -- Tea Partiers are quite representative of the public at large.
RTWT at the link (via Memeorandum).
BONUS: JammieWearingFool, "Tea Party More Popular Than Obama, Frank Rich Hardest Hit"; YidWithLid, "Et Tu Gallup? Second Polling Org. Shows Tea Party as Bi-Partisan, Bi-Racial Movement;" and Hot Air, "Who are the Tea Partiers?"
ADDED: Excellent piece from Andrew Malcolm, "Myth-busting polls: Tea Party members are average Americans, 41% are Democrats, independents":
For upwards of 12 months now members of the so-called Tea Party protest movement have been stereotyped, derogated and often dismissed by some politicians and media outlets.
They've been portrayed variously as angry fringe elements, often inarticulate, potentially violent and merely Republicans in sheep's clothing or disgruntled pockets of conservatives blindly lashing out at a left-handed President Obama and the same side of his Democratic Party finally getting its chance to drive home a liberal agenda after eight years of Republican rule and six under a centrist Bill Clinton.
Alas for stereotypes, they're convenient, often catchy. But not necessarily true ...