Relating 2010 data to current research

As I mentioned in my last post, my project now is to analyze the results of a national survey of about 45,000 respondents in order to investigate the Tea Party Movement’s favorability among US citizens of differing political ideologies. While we are still waiting for our national TP survey to be sent out, I am trying to find out as much information as possible about the TP.

In the past couple of weeks, I ran various cross-tabs in SPSS, drawing on questions about TP favorability, personal ideology, and view of the economy from the 45,000 respondent survey. I first ran TP favorability vs. self-ideology and national economy vs. self-ideology. I found that 61.5% of Very Conservatives and 50.4% of Conservatives rated TP favorability as “Very Positive.” It is hard to know if this data is generalizable enough to say that Very Conservatives and Conservatives are always TP supporters/members, but we do know that many Very Cons/Cons are TP supporters.
After running more cross-tabs, we would then say that since 74.3% of Very Conservatives rate the economy as have gotten worse or much worse, and 73.1% of Conservatives rate the economy as worse or much worse, so we can say that TP supporters in particular think that the economy has gotten worse, as compared to non TP supporters/members (keeping in mind that this survey is from 2010, so the data is not completely relatable/generalizable in today’s world).
I also ran national economy v TP favorability cross-tab and found that 85.4% of of people who rate TP as “Very Positive” believe that the economy has either gotten much worse or gotten worse.
Also, I ran a bunch of tables of various types of political activity v. TP favorability to see if TP supporters (those who rate TP as “Very Positive”) are more involved than those who do not rate TP as “Very Positive.” It appears that in general, TP supporters had been active in political activities (as we would suspect), but not much more than the other TP favorability groups combined.
What I need to know now is: How can we apply this data to our current TPM survey (in progress) and third-party research? My guess is that we need to run the same cross-tabs for similar questions in our TPM survey and compare them with the 2010 data/results in order to see the trends of TP supporters (so that we can make this 2010 data relevant to today). In the meantime while our survey is still in progress, I will play around more with this 2010 data in SPSS and possibly do some literary research of the TP.



  1. Hi Meredith!

    I’m sorry to hear that you had to change your research approach this summer, but I’m excited to hear that things are looking up!

    I don’t know if this will help you at all, but I heard about a few interesting studies that were conducted by Emily Ekins, who is a graduate student at UCLA. She has broken down the composition of the Tea Party and has collected some pretty interesting findings. Perhaps some of the tests she ran on the characteristics of Tea Partiers could be compared with your study of the Tea Party movement and third parties in general.

    Good luck with everything! I can’t wait to hear more about your survey results when they come in!

  2. klbrown01 says:

    Your research sounds very interesting and especially relevant given the media and popular attention that the Tea Party movement has received recently. I was just wondering more about your method of collecting further research; for instance, do you plan to conduct interviews with anyone in particular? What sort of literature exists on the Tea Party movement, as it is a fairly new political phenomenon?
    Good luck with the rest of your research!

  3. Meredith Dost says:

    Thanks for your interest! I am mostly using articles from sources such as Time International and am using peer-reviewed essays in journals such as Foreign Affairs and Policy Review. It has been a struggle to come across literature on the Tea Party, but using EBSCO, I was able to find many quality analytical sources.

  4. Meredith Dost says:

    Thanks, Emily for the great idea! I have contacted Emily Ekins, as well as other grad/PhD students who are researching the Tea Party. I am hoping that the additional information will add to my Tea Party research.