Friday, January 21, 2011

Results of the SITP 2011 Survey

My Dear Fellow Patriots;

A majority of our membership has responded to the survey we distributed last week; some of the results were predictable - some were not. There isn't room to display the entire survey here, but we are working on exporting the numbers to a coherent spreadsheet, and when we're done we'll post it up on our website. Results of the presidential straw poll are at the end of this email.

It comes as no surprise that a bit over 90% of the respondents hail from Staten Island, and most of the rest are from Brooklyn, the other boroughs and New Jersey. We do, however, have SITP members in AZ, CA, FL, MO, PA, SC, TX and even one in Okinawa, Japan - a little island about which I've done some writing.

Our group skews older - but perhaps not as old as you might expect: 38% are under the age of 46. I'd like to do better in this category, but we have to recognize that many folks in their 20's and 30's are wrapped up in raising young families and making a living, and hence not quite as able to pay attention to political activism.

Perhaps surprisingly to those who view the tea party movement as a bunch of ignorant yahoos, results reveal that fully 78% of our group attended college, and 22% of those did post-graduate work.

Party registrations broke down this way:

Republican - 68.4%

Democrat - 8.1%

Conservative - 9.4%

Independent - 8.8%

Unaffiliated - 5.1%

However, when asked to describe their political leanings on a right-to-left scale, regardless of party affiliation, respondents answered this way:

Libertarian - 18%

Conservative - 72%

Moderate - 8%

Liberal - 1%

Progressive - 1%

John McCain received the presidential vote of a bit more than 94% of our group, Obama just 1.62%., which I assume tell us that those who identify themselves as registered democrats don't always vote that way. The rest checked off "Other" or "Did Not Vote."

Reaffirming the core principles of the tea party movement, upwards of 96% of respondents consider themselves Very Conservative or Conservative when asked about fiscal and constitutional matters - no surprise there. But when asked about their views on social issues, more than 15% identified themselves as Middle-of-the-Road or Liberal, eclipsing both Republican/Conservative party affiliation and political leanings. From this we can infer that some who consider themselves staunch conservatives are less rigid when it comes to social issues.

When asked to identify the two issues that are of most concern, the majority (67%) of respondents chose "Reduce Federal Spending and National Debt" and 68% chose "Stop the Slide into Socialism" - once again echoing core issues of the TP movement.

In what I consider to be the most gratifying revelation of the survey, fully 42% of the respondents said that they had done volunteer work on a political campaign in 2010. However, even more importantly in my mind, of those that did work on a campaign an astounding 77% of them did so for the first time. That is a remarkable statistic, and I like to think that the SITP played some small role in this. Our mantra - almost our motto - from the beginning has been to keep people "informed and engaged," and the proof that we have been successful in both areas lies in these numbers.

Most of you, 80%, get your television news from FOX; 55% listen to Rush, Sean or Mark Levin on an almost daily basis; 47% listen to or watch Glenn Beck.

When presented with the proposition that there is too much government in our lives, 97% agreed; but when asked if government should promote traditional values, only 72% answered in the affirmative. This reinforces the Libertarian skew within the group, as do the responses to questions about the relative importance of specific issues like taxes, spending, earmarks, Obamacare and immigration, in which over 85% of respondents said these were "Extremely Important" issues. However, when asked about social issues such as gay marriage and moral direction, these numbers dipped into the low 70's, and when asked about the number of abortions performed in the United States, only 55.3% considered this to be extremely important as an issue.

What can we take away from this? You be the judge. It may be that in light of such pressing economic issues, and in the presence of such a left-leaning administration, social issues have been relegated to a back burner, or it may be that the Staten Island Tea Party is not quite as socially conservative as other groups around the country. Either way, I think it reinforces the decision we made very early on - that is, to keep the SITP away from social issues, and narrowly focused on three core principles: fiscal sanity, free markets and a constitutionally-limited government.

The presidential straw poll was all over the map, with every one of the 17 names getting at least one vote - including Barack Obama. I was shocked by the results, to say the least - and I intend to do another straw poll within a week or so to see if they bear up. The clear winner was Chris Christie of New Jersey, though since the results were so spread out his plurality was only 16%. Finishing second with 15% was..."None of the Above." I cannot account for this, except to say that left off the list were the names Jim DeMint, Michelle Bachmann and Hillary Clinton. In the next poll we will add those names and remove the possibility of voting for NOTA. We'll see where that takes us.

Other candidates (or non-candidates, as the case may be) to receive double digit votes were Palin and Huckabee, followed by Romney and Gingrich. One tier down sat Rubio, Pence and Paul - even Bolton got a fair share of votes.

All in all, it was a valuable snapshot of our group and we'll continue to evaluate results as they trickle in. What it does not - and cannot - show is what a great group of people make up the Staten Island Tea Party, and what a unique opportunity we've been blessed with. I'm speaking of the opportunity to see and hear and interact with other ordinary Americans who love liberty and rejoice in their freedoms, right here in our little corner of the world. To be able to have this and still call ourselves citizens of the greatest city in the greatest country in the world is quite a gift, quite a gift.

Now, who thinks we should support secession?

Your in Liberty,

Frank Santarpia

Staten Island, NY