Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How Many Blacks Consider Themselves Part of the Tea Party?

Wax Lips, always a good read, presents an interesting analysis of the membership of the Tea Party, guaranteed to send shivers up the spines of Democrat politicians in Congress (if they had spines).

Recently, Althouse published some results of a Quinnipiac poll revealing the demographics of the Tea Party movement, as follows:
74 percent are Republicans or independent voters leaning Republican;
16 percent are Democrats or independent voters leaning Democratic;
5 percent are solidly independent;
45 percent are men;
55 percent are women;
88 percent are white;
77 percent voted for Sen. John McCain in 2008;
15 percent voted for President Barack Obama.
Wax Lips has a politically astute aunt who commented on this poll thusly:
The report which accompanies the poll tells us that, “at this stage” the Tea Party movement is a “minority group” consisting “mainly” of white Republicans; a minority group, we are told, roughly the size of the African-American electorate. This fact, presented in a seemingly dismissive manner, is staggering. The African-American electorate is a highly sought after voting block which was, by all accounts, responsible for assuring Obama’s 2008 victory. That the Tea Party movement is a voting block of equal size deserves serious attention.

I am likewise amazed that the Assistant Director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute so completely misses the significance of the demographics. Describing a movement in opposition to the current (Democratic) leadership in Washington as “mostly made up of people who consider themselves Republican” completely misses (deliberately hides?) the significance of the fact that one out of every five Tea Party participants is a Democrat.

Likewise, a movement which is “mainly white”, in a country where 77% of the population is, in fact, white, is hardly newsworthy. What *is* newsworthy, is that 6% of the participants in the Tea Party movement are black. Think about that. Blacks comprise a mere 1% of the Republican Party. One might expect, then, a movement made up “mainly” of Republicans to be, at best, 1% black. Yet, a full 6% of the Tea Party movement is black. That’s quite a difference.

In fact, looking at it from a different angle, blacks make up 12% of the total US population. It would be unrealistic to expect a full 12% of the Tea Party movement to be black, given that election results indicate nearly 95% of all black voters voted for Obama. This would lead us to expect 11.4% of the US population (that is, 95% of the black population) to be pro-Obama blacks, and a mere 0.6% of the total population to be blacks critical of the president and his policies. Yet, the number of black participants in the Tea Party movement, at 6%, turns out to be significantly larger than that. Larger, in fact, by a factor of 10. That is an amazing statistic, especially in light of the continuous efforts to describe the Tea Party movement as racist.
Excellent observations, Auntie. Let's see if I got this straight. Obama is losing support among blacks, a surprising number of whom are part of the Tea Party.

After reading Auntie's analysis, I went back to the Quinnipiac poll and checked out the results. My reading of the results under the category of "Race" is that 11% of people who consider themselves part of the Tea Party" are non-hispanic Blacks. That's a mighty close reflection of the percentage of Blacks in the total US population (12%). (Auntie, if I've gotten this wrong, please correct me!)

If either the 6% or 11% figure is anywhere near accurate, it's easy to see why the Democrats would go out of their way to portray the Tea Party movement as a collection of dangerous racist Whites perfectly capable of spitting on Black leaders. Democrats must be worryingly aware that the survival of their supremacy depends on discouraging as many Black people as possible from claiming their Conservative roots, and their smears on the Tea Party are also calculated to increase the pressure on Black Conservatives to keep their mouths shut. That won't be too easy. One problem with this charade is that it's been tried so often that nearly everyone in the country caught on to it long ago.

My prediction: It won't work nearly as well as the Democrats hope. Desperate measures seldom do, especially hollow ones. And what could be more hollow than protestations by Democrat Congressional fat cats that they care about the welfare of ordinary Americans struggling to hold things together in a failing economy?


  1. Greetings from Wax-Lip's aunt. :-)

    First off, thanks for your kind comments.

    Re the percentage of Blacks in the Tea Party movement: I don't have access to the raw data, of course, but as I read the poll, the first column in the "Race" category refers to the entire sample (that is, all people polled, including those who said they were members of the Tea Party and those who said they were not). The 77% White, 11% Black numbers are, as you note, close to the demographics of the population of the US on a whole, which indicates the sample was not racially skewed. The second column shows the racial break-down of all the Republicans in the sample. A total of 2% of the Republicans in the sample were Black. (This sounds about right, also. I had read newspaper accounts saying the Republican Party has lost Blacks in recent years, and claiming the total number is now closer to 1%. So, from this poll and from other data, it appears the number of Blacks in the Republican party is somewhere between 1-2%.) The last column in the "Race" category is for those who identified themselves as members of the Tea Party movement. A total of 6% of the Tea Party members in the sample were Black. Verrrrrry intersting, no?

    Nice blog, by the way!

  2. Vicki,

    Thanks for your kind reply. Now I must go back to the poll results and learn to read them properly. It's good of you to help me out with this.

    The results are very interesting, as you say. And they match my personal experience.

    Yesterday, Ruby Slippers posted a video of Dan Henninger of the WSJ talking about the "push back" against the 100-year growth of the federal government. He made it sound inevitable. I found that view hopeful, even though current politics have discredited "hope" as a respectable human emotion.

    A growing Tea Party constituency across various demographic "boundaries" fits well with that view, I'm thinking.