April 22nd, 2010
06:27 PM ET
4 years ago

Counting Tea Party activists causes conflict

A new report puts the number of Tea Party activists at 67,000.
A new report puts the number of Tea Party activists at 67,000.

Washington (CNN) – A new report by a nonprofit organization estimates that there are 67,000 Tea Party activists throughout the country, which is at odds with estimates by a handful of conservatives including Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

Dante Chinni, a correspondent for Patchwork Nation, told CNN that they have determined most of the Tea Party activists reside in reliably Republican districts, rural or agricultural areas, wealthy suburbs and what they call "military bastions" located near U.S. military bases. Patchwork Nation, which was launched by the Christian Science Monitor and funded by the Knight Foundation, arrived at 67,000 by poring over publicly available information to identify people who actually registered with Tea Party organizations.

Chinni told CNN the figure does not include people who may sympathize with or support the Tea Party movement.

"Is this a complete list of everybody? No," Chinni said. "I think … there's probably maybe 10,000-to-12,000 total that we've missed."

Yet Chinni insisted that, "this is the overwhelming majority of registered Tea party members."

Patchwork Nation's Tea Party member estimate is dramatically lower than one recently offered by Steele.

In a speech to Chicago college students, Steele said Tea Party activists make up "a third or more" of the voting age population.

If Steele's estimate is true, that would mean roughly 77 million Americans support the Tea Party.

Regarding Steele's estimate, Chinni told CNN, "If he's got numbers to show that…I'd really be curious to see them."

"I don't know if they actually exist," Chinni said.

CNN contacted the RNC to inquire about what information Steele may have used for his estimate.

"The Tea Party movement grows with each passing day, as President Obama and Congressional Democrats refuse to listen to the America people," RNC Director of Media Affairs LeRoy Coleman said in a statement.

Coleman added, "We are listening, and we welcome their message: No more big government, tax and spend policies."

Mark Williams, chairman of the "Tea Party Express 3" tour, would not specifically sign on to Steele's estimate, telling CNN, "that would be huge."

He told CNN some 350,000 people have signed up for email and other internet communications from the Tea Party movement.

Updated: 7:47 p.m.


Filed under: Michael Steele • RNC • Tea Party movement
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. unshrub

    The whole operation is based on a lying and ignorance. They lie about Obama and they're ignorant about the constitution. They want their ideas of the constitution to be true, therefore they beleive it is true, when if fact, they are wrong. They constantly lie about their numbers.

    April 22, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  2. Perusing-through

    WHAT? THE REPUBLICANS ARE SQUABBLING ABOUT NUMBERS AGAIN?

    Prior to November's 2008 General Election, the Republicans claim was that most Americans would vote for McCain and Palin. The GOP came out with all types of polling numbers and data to boast their false claims. They were shocked when the country elected Barack Obama by 10+million votes.

    It is April 2010 and Republicans (aka Tea Party) are still fudging numbers and making false claims. Idiots!

    April 22, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. MikeH

    Steele's a proven liar. Who you gonna believe, The objective Christian Science Monitor, or the RNC Chair, corrupt and venal as they come.

    Well if you're a right wing wackadoodle with limited higher brain functions, I guess you'll go with what your reptile brain tells you.

    April 22, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. Karl Larson

    67 thousand. . 77 million

    somebody must be a little off

    April 22, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  5. Jerry - Florida

    This nonprofit reporting agency must be working (for profit) for the NObama administration. Will the Democrats ever stop their lying and disrespecting the American people. This so-called nonprofit needs to go back to school and relearn their math.

    On the other hand what other tricks can you expect from the NObama administration?

    April 22, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  6. Shelly

    People are realizing the Tea Party is nothing other than a group of angry people whose only issue is with the changing color of America's landscape and their urgency is more pronounced by the election of a democratically elected African American President.

    April 22, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  7. frank in valparaiso indiana

    If it wasn't for Fox News the tea party would dry up and blow away. They're just a bunch of fools. Like the Libertarians in College. Flash in the pan.

    Patriots? What a joke. Fools.

    April 22, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  8. frank

    Steele is a liar. How much is he spending on bimbo eruptions this week?

    April 22, 2010 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  9. ????

    You mean the southern poverty center is not counting and monitoring them?

    April 22, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  10. rick Atlanta

    Not this American that was born in germany... Oh wait how can I be America?

    April 22, 2010 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  11. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    The Tea Party: "tis a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

    April 22, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
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