So I was wondering who made up the bulk of the Tea Party movement. From what I gather, it should be a lot of middle aged housewives. From what I gather, the Tea Party members are religious fundamentalist, socially conservative, fiscally all over the place, and dumb uneducated. Most of these aspects tend to be proxy's for female middle aged votes, but to my surprise it appears from the only Gallup poll I found that the members tend to be quite average, but a bit older and more males. So what gives?
There's a lot of stuff to know about statistics in general and questionnaires in particular. Any statistician must take care in designing the study to avoid that horrible word in statistics which screws everything up: Bias.
There are many sources of bias and equally many ways of dealing with it. Unfortunately, there are two things which statistics can't correct for:
-People are dumb
I think the Gallup poll suffer from these issues since the questions were asked over the phone.
Problem 1: Who picks up the phone? I would assume in religious fundamentalist families it's the man of the house. Presto bingo, more males. It's possible they corrected for this, they often do, but did they in this one?
Problem 2: People lie about their age. It's endemic and almost hopeless to correct for, since noone wants to be old. Hopefully the question asked is "What age will you turn this year?", but I don't know.
Problem 3: People lie about their income.. oh boy do people lie about their income. I know Gallup corrcts for this, but I don't know how accurate it is. Gallup probably doesn't know how accurate their corrections are. Do the Tea Partiers have a higher income, or are they just lying? They are Christians, so they know it will be forgiven in heaven.. ;)
Problem 4: People lie about education or are too dumb to know what qualifies as education. Since the Tea Party members quite often support creationism it would not come as a bomb shell if they lied about their credentials, just like many of those who promulgate creationism have done. Bible School or 3 hour "lecture" from a preacher is not the same as 'Some College', and neither does diploma mill businesses granting 'Independent Studies' degrees qualify as 'College grad'.
Problem 5: How many women would self-report as 'Homemaker', even if they are one? Some might think a bit of odd jobs fall in under 'Part-time Employed'. It doesn't, of course, in the same way that anything less than a 40 hour work week is not the same as 'Full-time Employed'.
I could go on, but I'll leave it at that for now. I'm still wondering who the hell supports this lunacy and I still doubt the majority are white, middle aged men with higher than annual income. Call it my gut educated opinion; I don't trust Tea Partyers to tell the truth.