Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Size of the Wisconsin Tea Party

Earlier this week a pair of Tea Party groups released the results of respective stray polls that showed Dave Westlake wasting Ron Johnson among their memberships. Both of these groups are headed by signers of an earlier press release that essentially told Ron Johnson to lay off the claim of the Tea Party mantle.

It's hardly a good sample size, but it's a place to start.

The results of the straw polls aren't nearly as interesting as what they say about the size of these groups. Here's the straw poll data from the Madison 9/12 Project:
Wisconsin 9/12 Project Straw Poll
In all likelihood no more than 20 people participated in the straw poll. The tallies for governor, for example, are all divisible by 5 (100%/5 = 20).

But, you might ask, how do I explain the funky remainders behind the tallies for Lt. Gov.? Simple, only 19 people voted for that office.
Brett Davis: 6/19 = 31.57%
Ben Collins: 5/19 = 26.31%
Undecided: 8/19 = 42.105%
The Northwoods Patriots has far less information to work with.
Northwoods Patriots Straw Poll Results
The only real figures of any value they release are:
Dave Westlake: 98%
Ron Johnson: 2%
I think it's safe to assume that we're dealing with a voting universe of 50 people here (I'm not going to do the math).

When we average out the two figures we get 35. If we can assume that there are maybe 200 tea party groups in the state that would mean there are about 7000 tea partiers in Wisconsin, or roughly the size of the gang that shows up to the tax day Tea Parties in Madison. Over 2.9 million people in Wisconsin voted in the last election -- 7000 people represents an almost negligible sliver of the total electorate in the state.

Now if these 7000 people prove to be invaluable campaign volunteers and tireless activists for their cause, then they can have an enormous multiplier effect, but there's no evidence yet they are ready to do the leg work required to earn them a spot at the table and until they do no should have to genuflect at the tea party altar.

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