The data in this report was derived from a collection of online directories on the major national Tea Party faction websites: Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Patriots, 1776 Tea Party (also known as TeaParty.org), FreedomWorks Tea Party, and ResistNet Tea Party. The data for the sixth national Tea Party formation mentioned in this report, the Tea Party Express, was drawn from filings with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).
The data provides a partial picture of the Tea Party activist base. It is important to note that there may be many more individuals who are not listed in these social networking directories – who either chose not to register, who have registered on some other site (such as one or more of the many local Tea Party sites), or who do not have sufficient computer skills.
Tea Party Membership Data
With the exception of the daily membership totals, the bulk of the Tea Party membership data used in this report was collected during the period from May 1 to May 5, 2010. Using software generously provided by Sequentum, an automated process allowed for the copying and compiling of the website membership data into a local SQL database.
Records retrieved from all five Tea Party faction sources generally included: name, city, state, country, and gender. Some records were incomplete – missing city, state, country, gender, etc. Incomplete records were included in the overall numbers, not in areas where data was missing. We also downloaded the contribution records from FEC.gov for Our Country Deserves Better PAC – TeaPartyExpress.com for the same period and imported those records.
From the initial captured material, we worked with the data to eliminate duplicates and extraneous data. We also normalized the data, making sure that column names were the same, and that state and abbreviations were consistent. We then imported that data into a main SQL database.
Once we had a completed Tea Party membership data set, we then geo-coded the set using the city and state information. That information was later used to map the location of membership location using Tableau Public.
After the importation process we ran specific queries to work specifically with Tea Party member data and to extract the information we needed. Those queries included: Tea Party Members by State, Tea Party Members by City, Tea Party Members by Faction, Tea Party Membership by City vs local Unemployment Rate, and Tea Party Membership Totals by City as a percentage of the City population.
Tea Party Chapter Data
The Tea Party chapter information in this report was also collected during the period from May 1 to May 5, 2010, using a process similar to how membership information was compiled. Due to poor site layout, one site required manual data entry of the group data.
The data was placed into a separate Tea Party Chapter database. We used the same process as we did with Tea Party membership data to clean and normalize the Tea Party chapter data. We also geo-coded the data to be able to map the chapter locations.
Additional Data Sources
In addition to the Tea Party data, we relied on several other data sources in this report. The city population data came from the 2008 US Census Data. The city unemployment rate data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics January 2010 Not Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates for Metropolitan Areas Monthly Rankings.