Poll: Women Make Up Majority of Tea Party Ranks

Monday, 29 Mar 2010 12:51 PM

By David A. Patten

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Those who say the tea party movement consists mostly of angry white men will have to recast their stereotyping in at least one regard — 55 percent of them are women, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll.

The survey included nearly 2,000 registered voters nationwide. About 13 percent said they are members of the tea party movement that has pushed for more than a year for lower taxes, more liberty, and smaller government. Of those self-identified tea party activists, about 55 per cent are women.

The finding won't come as a huge surprise to those who have followed the tea party movement.

Women such as Jenny Beth Martin, Amy Kremer, and Darla Dawald hold leading roles in the movement. Sarah Palin and Mississippi congressional candidate Angela McGlowan are among the movement's political icons. And several women-oriented groups, such as the grass-roots networking site SmartGirlPolitics, have emerged to give women a place to voice their opinions and coordinate events.

Dawald, national director of the ResistNet site, explained the activism of women conservatives to Politico.com: "You know the old saying that if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy? Well, when legislation messes with mama’s kids and it affects her family, then mama comes out fighting."

Given allegation of threats and vandalism lately, she was careful to add, "And I don’t mean in a violent way, of course.”

In addition to being mostly female, tea party activists share a strong distrust of government.

The poll released late last week indicated that only 19 percent of American voters generally trust government to do the right thing "almost all of the time" or "most of the time." But among tea party activists, that figure drops to only 4 percent.

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