While the Mary Franson versus Sue Nelson endorsement challenge is a diverting internal Tea Party Republican battle, as a whole Minnesota doesn't rank high in Tea Party membership, according to The Status of the Tea Party: Membership, Support and Sympathy by the Numbers, a new study released today by the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights.
Based in Kansas City, the group bills itself as "is a national organization with an international outlook examining racist, anti-Semitic, white nationalist, and far-right social movements. . ."
From a press release accompanying the report:
The overall ranking of thirty fourth for Minnesota is based on a combination of metrics: the number of Tea Party members in the state, membership as a percentage of the state population, and the number of active local affiliated Tea Party groups. Minnesota was twenty seventh in the total number of Tea Party members in the state, with 6,334 members. As a percentage of the state's population, Tea Party membership in the state came in forty first. The 15 active local affiliated Tea Party groups in Minnesota was twenty third in the country.
Data in the report proves that despite recent defeats, the Tea Party movement is far from dead. "At its core, this report is a wakeup call for everyone who cares about human rights. The Tea Party threat to human rights remains persistent on a multitude of fronts," said IREHR president Leonard Zeskind.
Among the other significant findings in the report:
- Despite sagging public sympathy post-shutdown, core membership in the national Tea Party factions remains high, at over half a million people. Last year, membership growth slowed to roughly four percent. Membership is geographically concentrated in the South, with than 42% of overall membership in the region.
- The level of Tea Party supporters also rose, particularly on social media. The combined total for national Tea Party Facebook likes was 7,683,327, and Twitter followers totaled 382,240.
- Recalcitrance regarding the shutdown of the federal government and other issues caused general sympathy for the Tea Party to decline at the end of 2013, to 18% to 30% of the American public.
- Even has membership has grown, the ratio of men to women in the Tea Party movement remains remarkably consistent, with roughly two-thirds of the membership identified as men.
The rush to pronounce the Tea Party dead has caused nearly as many problems as the myth that the movement is "AstroTurf"--fake grassroots. “Tea Partiers are more than minions for millionaires, or the sum of ballots cast on Election Day,” according to the report’s author, Devin Burghart. “They are not illusions created by public relations magicians. Over the last five years, real people have been involved in real activities aimed at impacting politics, culture, and civil society in negative ways,” he added.
Photo: Tea Party Rally at the Minnesota State Capitol 2010, via Neon Tommy, "Tea Party supporters rally in Minnesota (Creative Commons)."
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