Super Tuesday Explodes Two Myths About the Tea Party

By: Michael_Patrick_LeahyMarch 07, 2012

Results from yesterday’s “Super Tuesday” Republican primaries in ten states exploded two myths about the Tea Party movement.

Myth #1 – The Tea Party is losing its political power.

The mainstream media and the Democratic Party keeping flogging the dead horse that the Tea Party movement has peaked. They point to the lack of public rallies of the sort that characterized 2009 and 2010 as evidence. Balderdash, respond local tea party activists from around the country. We’ve moved on to more important things–like organizing to get-out-the-vote.

Yesterday’s results proved that the Tea Party movement is not only live and well–it’s thriving.

The Tea Party movement claimed another victim among incumbent GOP politicians in Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District, where 4 term GOP incumbent Jeanne Schmidt was upset by tea party challenger Brad Wenstrup, 49% to 43%, despite outspending him by a 3 to 1 margin.  The  noise you hear in the distance is the fearful expectations of a pair of old GOP Senate bulls about to experience serious Tea Party challenges in their primaries–Indiana’s Richard Lugar and Utah’s Orrin Hatch.

Exit polls also showed that GOP Primary voters are strongly supportive of the Tea Party movement. 62% of Tennessee voters fit that category, as do 59% of Ohio voters.

Myth #2 – Tea Party supporters won’t vote for Mitt Romney.

Exit polls in the two most contested states provide evidence that this oft-heard claim is untrue. In Ohio, supporters of the Tea Party movement virtually split their support between Rick Santorum (39%) and Mitt Romney (36%). Gingrich and Paul lagged far behind. In Tennessee, Santorum (39%) beat both Gingrich (27%)  and Romney (25%) among Tea Party supporters. While it’s clear that Tennessee tea partiers prefer Santorum to Romney, a 14% margin is not exactly a tsunami. And Romney beat Gingrich, the only one of these three who deserves credit for helping launch the movement in 2009, in Ohio, and effectively tied him in Tennessee.

While it’s true that very few local tea party leaders have endorsed Romney, that strong opposition appears not to have translated into unbending opposition among the tea party rank and file.

With a hat tip to Mark Twain, it’s fair for those of us in the Tea Party movement to let the Democratic Party and the mainstream media in on this poorly kept secret: “Reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated.”

Michael Patrick Leahy is the editor of the Voices of the Tea Party e-book series and co-founder of Top Conservatives on Twitter and the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition. His new book, Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement, will be published by Broadside Books in spring, 2012. He can be reached on Twitter at @michaelpleahy .

Tagged as: Super Tuesday,  Tea Party

20 Responses to Super Tuesday Explodes Two Myths About the Tea Party

  1. Pingback: Instapundit » Blog Archive » MORE ON THE EXIT POLLS: Super Tuesday Explodes Two Myths About The Tea Party….

  2. Steve says:

    And in the Michigan primary the Tea party supporters split their vote 42%/41% between Romney/Santorum.

    It’s not widely broadcast for some reason, but in both Michigan and Ohio Santorum received very significant support from Democrats and independents, while Romney did better among Republicans. I suppose this does not sit well with the preferred narrative in which Santorum supposedly represents the “conservative base” while Romney is allegedly backed by liberals and moderates, which is why everybody just ignores it.

  3. Squid says:

    While I’m pleased that 2/3rds of Tea Party folks haven’t fallen for the “Vote Romney Or Else” blackmail served up by the establishment GOP, I’m still kinda disappointed that 1/3rd have.

  4. Pingback: Transterrestrial Musings - Two Myths About The Tea Party

  5. angelatc (@AngelaTC) says:

    The fact that the Tea Party will vote for Mitt Romney is indeed a sign that it’s actually dead, or at least been commandeered by the reigning elite.

    • tdpwells says:

      No, it means we want to win even if it means voting in Romney. We have zero influence over Obama, but with Romney we at least stand a chance at swaying his opinion via local representatives and senators who are our main target. It’s all about slowing down the train right now. Have to slow it down before you can stop it completely. A lot of tea partiers believe Romney stands the best chance at beating Obama. YMMV.

      • rosignol says:

        Voting for Romney isn’t about backing the man, it’s about getting Obama out. The important things in the next couple of years are going to be happening in Congress, and Obama’s going to hold things up if he gets re-elected. Romney will sign what Congress sends him.

    • richard40 says:

      I stand with the Tea Party on most issues, and I dont see this hatred of Romney. He isn’t perfect, but neither is Santorum, Newt, or Paul. At least Romney is proposing real spending and tax cuts, and backing the Ryan plan, and supports Obamacare repeal. I think Newt is too egotistical and flighty to win, and I get sick of Santorum constantly harping on his socon BS. Romney has kept his campaign focused where it belongs, its the economy stupid.

  6. RONPAUL2012 says:

    This is not the REAL teaparty…. real tea party people would NEVER vote for either MItt or Rick.

    The real tea party started in 2007 and supports Ron Paul and no one else.

    • Miriam says:

      Speak for yourself. You do not speak for Tea Partiers, nor do you speak for me.

    • Shutterbug says:

      The voter in front of me asked: what if I don’t want to vote Democrat or Republican? The election official replied, But, there’s no third party running. The would be voter stepped back to review the ballot posted on the wall, returned and said, I’ll vote Republican. What do you think happened? I think the witless twit thought Ron Paul was running as an independent. There should be three qualifying questions randomly selected from a data base of questions to qualify voters, thus eliminating the stupid and uninformed would-be voter.

    • ziv says:

      Ron Paul is closer to the truth on several issues but he is pathetically crazy on some important ones. Voting for Paul is like voting for Perot, even though he thinks his appliances are spying on him. You know they are looney, but you are so sick of the ‘sane’ alternatives that you just don’t care.

  7. Pingback: Super Tuesday….results proved that the Tea Party movement is not only live and well–it’s thriving. « Newsbeat1

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  9. John Q LIberty says:

    What on earth are you crowing about, Mr. Leahy?

    What’s to be gained by proclaiming “tea party support” for ANY of these three candidates at this point? If we’re “taxed enough already”, the only way to cut the trillion dollar deficit without raising taxes is to CUT SPENDING. Which of these three candidates is talking about serious spending cuts? Who among them has even proposed A BUDGET?

    Sure looks to me like the tea party has drunk the “big government” Kool-aid.

    Strategically, the best move is to support budget-slashing Ron Paul until there’s a clear winner, then play hard to get with the last man standing. (“How many HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS did you say you will cut from NEXT YEAR’S BUDGET, Mr. Santorum/Gingrich/Romney? WHERE will you cut that spending?)

    …and don’t give me any of that ‘ten year budget baseline’ crap either, Mr. Candidate!

    • Mr. Liberty,

      Thanks for commenting on my article.

      I was simply reporting the results of the exit poll data.

      As to what level of spending cuts are needed immediately, if you read my new book, Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement, you’ll discover that our views on that topic are quite similar.

  10. Jigglethehandle says:

    We’re done with street theater.

    That was to see how many of us there were.

    It’s millions. Many millions.

    We will stand and fight.

  11. Rich K says:

    Sad to say but Romney will be the first to toss your book in the circular file Mike.And then he will cement obamacare into the national archives after some totally worthless tweaking that changes nothing.Entitelments will grow as they have since good old LBJ put them on steroids.But you can all feel good about yourselves supporting Romney/Santorum and the continuation of the Leviathan just like Obama wanted. Feh!

  12. Pingback: Tuesday Explodes Two Myths About the Tea Party « THE BLACK KETTLE

  13. Xiaoding says:

    Will all Tea Party members who voted for Romney, please turn in you cards at the exit, thank you. Your efforts are no longer wanted.

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