Since the arrival of the Tea Party on the US scene – which should interest any genuine reformer over here, because it suggests a possible remake of a powerful existing political structure – The Slog has been neutral heading towards sceptical. It continues to strike me as an oddball, single-ethnicity phenomenon that so far has done little beyond winning the odd Primary and throwing up redneck women.
However, recently the organisation held Tea Party Tuesday and – as this is the nearest thing they have as yet to a ‘conference’ – you’d expect its profile to be improved.
There’s an interesting piece of research been done by US market research firm Crimson Hexagon which seems to support this.
While not as yet tracking Tea Partiers on Twitter, CH’s poll does measure pro and anti major Party lines on the users of that service. You could argue of course that in being biased 100% towards Tweeters, by definition the sample is young and/or braindead; but this is no longer an assumption one can make about this (to me) quite extraordinary social networking system.
Basically, the outcome since TPT has been a rise in pro-Dem tweets, and a fall in GOP support. Both started on TPT, September 15th. The hypothesis is thus that the Tea Party’s shall we say ‘traditional’ beliefs have galvanised Democrat supporters and pushed some Republicans further to the Right, these latter being the ones you meet who think Tony Blair was a Communist fluoridating the US water supply.
The American political landscape is vastly different to ours – and without being sniffy, the experiences to date of the BNP and UKIP have been that Brits are less enthusiastic, and fundamentalist values are only evident on a much smaller scale here. But in the case of UKIP, this could be nothing more than poor presentation by the likes of Farage and Pearson.
Worth keeping an eye on, this one. And you can bet the farm that Barack is being briefed on a minute by minute basis.