• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Oh yes Republicans would like…
    campskunk on Oh yes Republicans would like…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Memorial Day
    eurobrat on One Tiny Mistake…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Evil people want to shove a so…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Evil people want to shove a so…
    riverdaughter on Evil people want to shove a so…
    campskunk on Evil people want to shove a so…
    eurobrat on D E F A U L T
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Tina Turner (1939-2023)
    jmac on D E F A U L T
    jmac on Does Game Theory Even Help Us…
    William on Does Game Theory Even Help Us…
    William on Does Game Theory Even Help Us…
    jmac on Does Game Theory Even Help Us…
  • Categories

  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    November 2010
    S M T W T F S
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

  • Top Posts

Lies, damned lies and statistics

Warning: This is another post is about those awful tea-bagging mad hatters and may induce headaches, nausea, flatulence and/or incontinence in some people. Reader discretion is advised




Just 32% of Tea Party candidates win

For all the talk of the Tea Party’s strength – and there will certainly be a significant number of their candidates in Congress – just 32% of all Tea Party candidates who ran for Congress won and 61.4% lost this election.

The first thing that jumped out at me was “MSNBC.”


I’m not calling anyone a liar but I wouldn’t trust that outfit to present the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth on the topic of Tea Partiers any more than I would trust FOX News to be fair and balanced on the same subject.

The second thing that struck me was the lack of context. I’m no bean counter but I know that statistics can be manipulated in lots of fun ways.

The article tells us that 140 Tea Party candidates ran for the House and Senate but only 45 of them won. It even tells us their names and where they ran. What it doesn’t tell us is who they ran against.

While all 435 House seats and 37 Senate seats were on the ballot Tuesday, not all of those seats were “in play.” There are a large number of “safe” seats held by members of each party. Those seats might be subject to a primary challenge but are highly unlikely to change hands in a general election.

One such seat is the one currently held by Scott Brown in the Senate. It was the one formerly held by Teddy Kennedy and was considered a “lock” for the Democrats. Martha Coakley won the Democratic primary but lost in the special election last January. The Tea Party Express endorsed Brown, but his win is not included in MSNBC’s statistics.

How many Tea Party candidates ran no-hope campaigns against Democratic safe seats? I’m guessing quite a few, and that would certainly skew the numbers.

How do they count Joe Miller in Alaska? He won the primary against incumbent Lisa Murkowski but she may have beaten him in the general as an independent write-in candidate. Assuming she won, is he counted as a winner or a loser?

Last of all, they are looking at the numbers backwards. The Tea Party is a GOP faction that has been in existence less than two years. Grassroots or astroturf, they managed to get 140 candidates on the ballot and won nearly a third of the races. In doing so they knocked off some GOP establishment candidates in the primaries.

That’s not what I would call losing.

Now you might have noticed that I’m not discussing the ideology of the Tea Party candidates or passing judgment on them. That is not what this post is about (although I’m sure that will be discussed in the comments.)

There are lots of people with a vested interest in overstating or understating the impact of the Tea Party. Our goal should be to make an accurate assessment.

That’s what being members of the reality-based community is all about.

More discussion at Memeorandum


27 Responses

    • From the link:

      Even a cursory examination of NBC’s Tea Party list raises concerns. When compiling their list of Tea Party winners, NBC excluded many Tea Party Republicans, e.g., Kristi Noem, Scott Tipton, John Runyan, Dennis Ross, Mo Brooks, David Schweikert, Nan Hayworth, Alan Nunnelee, Steve Pearce, Scott Rigell, Lou Barletta, Daniel Webster, James Lankford, Chris Gibson, Chip Cravaak, Cory Gardner, Jeff Denham, Bill Huizenga, and Tim Huelskamp … just to name a handful.

      Why were these candidates excluded from the Tea Party winners list? Was it because they would have made the Tea Party look too good? In lieu of an explanation from the brainiacs at NBC, we can only speculate.


      In scrutinizing NBC’s method for identifying Tea Party candidates, bear in mind that as a matter of formal policy, many tea party groups don’t endorse candidates, period. Also remember that there are strong defenders of the Tea Party agenda whose political careers predate the birth of the Tea Party (e.g. Jim DeMint, Mike Pence and Steve King). Do those members of Congress count as Tea Party winners? NBC left them out. Inexplicably, Michele Bachmann was included in NBC’s list of Tea Party victors, but the rest of the congressional Tea Party Caucus was left out.

      (Wingnut warning)

  1. Considering that the conventional wisdom has always held that ‘third- parties’ were a waste of time and effort due to the two-party structure, I think winning a third of their races makes the Tea Party a success. I guess the Tea Party is a GOP faction in the same way that PUMA was a Democratic faction, ie they draw people from primarily one party. I do believe that the TP grew out of real people’s real frustration. The GOP’s attempt to reign it in will only be marginally successful.

  2. Also looks like the Tea Party folks won in areas that Hillary took in the primaries. Perhaps enough bitter knitters simply didn’t show up on Tuesday night to protect and defend “their” party.

    Anyway, it should be clear to the party leadership that Obama is not the best choice for 2012 since all of the Rs and half of the Ds don’t like him.

  3. Prediction: An assault on reproductive rights
    Activists say election was no anti-choice mandate, “but don’t worry,” anti-choice politicians will act like it was

    Was Ms.Clark-Flory even paying attention the last two years?

  4. Half the stories over the last few days have been, “How can we salvage a ‘victory’, even a ‘moral victory’ for the Obama party out of Tuesday night’s debacle.”

    It’s a crock. If you regard the TP as an infant ‘third party’ then 32% of 140 races is a huge win for them. If you regrd the TP as a GOP faction, the Tuesday was still a huge win for them.

    This kind of nonsense would be like the Texas Rangers saying, “Sure the Giants won the WS in five games, but there were several innings in several different games where the Rangers scored and the Giants didn’t. And if the Giants are so great then how do you explain that!”

    The Dems better figure out what it is that is so appealing about the TP and what it is about themselves that is driving people away in droves.

    Where TP issues are legititmate they better come up with Democratic solutions, and wherever TP issues are bogus right wing rhetoric they better come up with compelling DEmocratic counter arguments rooted in the truth.

    Demonizing and or belittling TP, its candidates or its accomplishments is a losing strategy for los-y losers. If it is unclear, I think that the Dem’s don’t seem to get it that they LOST!

    • Agree.

    • As a PUMA who Tea Parties, I found I had a lot more in common than differences with the folks who attend the rallys. Also, many former and disengaged Dems….and Republicans! It’s a very independent movement, don’t let the media frame it as fringe just because they find a few nutjobs when covering it. Much like the right’s media finds the anarchists at the peace rallys.

      I’ve been on both sides, I love street parties, especially when I’m passionate about the message….peace, love and rock and roll back my taxes 😀

  5. I don’t think Obama had any mojo to begin with. He was artifice marketed in the packaging of identity politics. There is nothing substantive there, in contrast to Bill Clinton.

    Where I wish PUMAs had taken a page from the TP handbook is the ‘hold their feet to the fire’ message. Every faux-liberal who foisted Obama on this country should be held accountable. At this point, he is nothing more than a seat-warmer for Mark Rubio or whoever. The Dems gutted and perverted the “liberal” label more effectively than any right-winger could have.

    • I wish that PUMAs did the same thing as the TP…get it together and do something. Honestly, that is the one thing I admire about the Tea Party, is their persistence and the fact that they actually did something about how they feel about the GOP.

      • After May 31st, 2008 DNC RBC meeting there were many PUMA sites up, there was/is a PUMA daily that listed them all and there were conference calls to organize. NOW, don’t anyone faint, but the TEA PARTY includes some of those people now, and they have been actively supporting the Palin for president theme.

        I bailed once I realized they were on another mission, one that didn’t go with the one Hillary advocated for and the screaming of ‘SOCIALISTS’ at any democrat. Then came the invites to the Glenn Beck rallies opposing Health Care Reform when it still was in place and when all the Tea Party people would show up at meetings and shut them down screaming SOCIALISTS!

        So, many of the sites are up, but some are now simply Republican talking points and don’t have a clue about what the working folks plight is (See RD’s post above about that) and how the middle class is hurting, because they are taking the attack leads from the Republican big bucks. I posted many videos showing who was funding the operation, who organized the buses, and how they have no intentions of getting behind Palin regardless of what Michael Steele may say.

        There is one site that uses Hillary’s image/name but it is the hive of the Republican Party. That is why the yelling never included a platform and when folks started asking they were told ‘The Constitution’, only some forgot to read it and some want to repeal it while still yelling ‘SOCIALISM’.

        The latest if you missed it is targeting women volunteers of the League of Women Voters by Glenn Beck and his minions and questioning a volunteer’s patriotism (remember it worked for Bush II) for not letting the Tea Party run the debates. Only problem is The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a Baptist Christian Socialist…yup, so by deductive reasoning of the Tea Party…take a deep breath in…GLEN BECK IS A SOCIALIST!

  6. Interesting enough, we’ve got another RECOUNT
    in Ct. Malloy (D) was declared winner, and Tom Foley, R. who is supported by tea party………came out and said he won. All of it having to do with a lack of ballots at the polls, and keeping them open until
    10 pm, and the Sect. of State declaring Malloy winner
    before all the count was done. Everybody must be lawyering up.

  7. What struck me looking at the returns was how narrow the margin of some or the republican wins were.

    Then there is the question, were voters for the Tea Pary or against the Democrats?

  8. The TP was successful in their organizing and keeping their message front and center.

    They got the Repub’s attention and made waves.

    We libs/puma never had a cohesive message.
    There was some talk about taking our clarity of the election further, but we didn’t

    We had no single issue to rally around beside Hillary.

    If we did, then perhaps we could have had as much say as the TPers.

    Perhaps our message is
    “Fair reflection of votes”.
    Get rid of the caucus and it’s fraud. Get rid of Super-delegates and count our votes at the Convention.

    If our votes really counted, Hillary would be President and the country would be is a completely different place.

    Anybody have a catchy slogan and a name for us?

    • I think the claims of PUMAs being republicans and other stuff was hard to swim through – additionally, there actually were a huge number of republicans and other stuff that were calling themselves PUMA.

      The Tea Party doesn’t respond or explain the wild claims made about their members. I’ve not heard one. I think that is wise. The other thing is that they have Palin who has become a default spokeswoman for the movement. I think her presence and the 24 hour mic in her face prevents other fame-starved people from jumping in and co-opting their movement.

      PUMA had the MSM picking up Will to speak for it and I’m not sure where he came from. I don’t think he had a presence *here* before his opportunity for 15 mins of fame. Murphy did pretty well when she was asked to speak on the MSM, but maybe she did too well and her expaination didn’t match what the MSM wanted PUMA to be.

      Also, the open embrace of protest voting upset many liberals who hold their nose, vote for the -D and then expect to hold the -D’s feet to the fire by whining on blogs. I’m sure plenty of them would have stayed PUMA but couldn’t stand the thought of being mixed with protest voters.

      Also, becoming the targets for bullying and name calling didn’t make being a part of PUMA very attractive – you really had to believe it was the right thing to put up with the abuse from friends.

  9. its…not it’s.

  10. I said this on TL (against the narrative, mind you). 32% isn’t bad for a party that did not exist when Obama took office.

  11. Imagine if the left put up scores of candidates with true progessive agendas and 32% of them won. Wow, what I would give to see that day.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: