Final post

After a summer of researching the Tea Party and analyzing survey results, I am glad to have made significant progress on my final product; a short yet comprehensive paper with literature on the TP as well as survey data and research from other sources. One of the most valuable things I learned about research is that you should not be afraid to ask for outside help or advice. In my recent experience, I found that other researchers are flattered and more than happy to discuss their findings as well as my own research. Although it was intimidating to send out emails to strangers, it was definitely worth it to not only obtain other information but also to meet people with similar interests from across the country. As I blogged about earlier this summer, the ability to be flexible when it comes to changing and adapting projects is essential in social sciences research. With so many variables (such as various people and current events) that can change or even throw off a project, I found it essential to my research to not only be willing to adapt but also willing to be creative and to think of more aspects to add to my project individually. As I wait for final survey results to come in and to receive more responses from other TP researchers, I am going to work on generalizing my collected research to political movements in general so that it is more widely applicable. Finally, I would like to thank the Charles Center and the W&M Parents Association for the opportunity to continue research on the Tea Party Movement and survey analysis as well as for the opportunity to work with a faculty member, Professor Rapoport of the Government Department.

Preparing to compile research

After a summer of research, I am finally beginning to formally compile my findings. My plan is to create a short written document including survey results from the 2010 Tea Party survey questions, Gallup and other polling firms’ TP research, and a short literary analysis section of recent articles written about the TP Movement. I have contacted a couple of TP researchers across the US (shout out to Emily Gottschalk-Marconi for this idea) and am excited to include other people’s research and thoughts into this final project. Unfortunately, I will not be able to present at the Fall Research Symposium at the end of September because I am abroad this fall in Argentina, but I look forward to presenting my short paper and a poster when I return to campus. I will be making my final blog post in two days after I have made more progress on my final product, which is still in progress and could possibly change as I receive responses from other TP researchers and do some more independent research. I am excited to have a complete project and will post back soon with progress!

Confirmation by Gallup

It is important to see what other views and facts exist when studying a topic. I am currently compiling other Tea Party research to add as extra legitimization to our research and survey results, so I decided to look at polling agencies’ TP questions. I first went to Gallup’s website to look at the overlap between Tea Party supporters and Republicans, a relationship that I have studied this summer. Gallup found that 8 out of every 10 TP supporters are Republicans compared with 44% of all adults, which is a similar result to my research (within 5%).

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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.

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The Need for Flexibility and Adaptability in Research

When I first posted on this blog, I was expecting to start working with our survey data in mid-June, but as I have now found out again, things don’t always go as planned. With Professor Rapoport, as well as with Justin DBK and Ani-Rae Lovell, we have created a survey that will be sent out to Tea Party Movement members and supporters of the multiple TP organizations. Rapoport was able to obtain a good contact within the TP, which we were going to use to send out the survey from the Tea Party Express headquarters, likely increasing our response rate of the survey due to the legitimacy of this TP organization. However, this connection proved difficult to obtain due to the long chain of people involved, and the necessary timing of our survey. We will now send out the survey as soon as possible through another TP organization, Tea Party Nation. In the meantime, Rapoport has received the data set for a survey in which he participated, which included over 45,000 respondents. This survey included a couple of TP questions, from which I will analyze the data and draw conclusions about political activity in the TP Movement based off of past political involvement in the Republican party, for example, with Perot in 1992.

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