In case you're wondering how many Americans are actually Tea Partiers, CBS and The New York Times have an answer for you: four percent of the general public.
There has been some confusing discussion of the Tea Partiers' numbers lately. A Gallup poll
, released earlier this month, found that 28 percent of Americans count themselves as "supporter[s] of the Tea Party movement."
But that's not the same as actually being a Tea Partier, insofar as Tea Party activism can be defined. Signs of identity, as opposed to support, would include whether or not one has attended a Tea Party rally or meeting, participated in a conference call with a Tea Party group, or whether one subscribes to and actively reads an e-mail newsletter from a Tea Party group. Mental engagement is just as important, probably, as physically going somewhere, since not everyone has time to attend a rally in the middle of a workday, for instance, or to meet up with other activists on a weeknight.
A new poll from CBS and the Times
, however, finds that 20 percent of those who support the Tea Party movement (18 percent of Americans support it, they find) say they have either given money or attended a Tea Party event, or both.
A total four percent of all respondents, accordingly, had either attended an event or given money.
That figure is based on an April 5-12 telephone survey including results from 1,580 adults nationwide and an oversampled portion of 881 self-identified Tea Party supporters (oversampled to find more info on their preferences, but scaled back down to avoid corrupting the 18-percent figure).
It's the best answer yet (to my knowledge) of how many people are actually engaged with the Tea Party movement.