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Politico's poll samples a libertarian crowd

Politico has published the full results of the TargetPoint-run poll taken at last week's tea party rally at the Washington Monument. As revealing as it is, it reveals some of the distorting effect of the rally. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) was the most prominent speaker whose involvement in the rally was announced beforehand. And Paul supporters showed up in force -- as the congressman left, he was literally pursued across Constitution Avenue by autograph-seekers. Lo and behold, TargetPoint found the most libertarian sample of tea partyers I've seen in any poll, with minimal concerns about social issues, little trust in the GOP, and majority opposition to all of the party's potential 2012 candidates. So 15 percent of the attendees of the rally said Palin "best exemplifies the goals" of the movement, while 12 percent said Paul.

The poll is skewed, too, by location. Thirty-six percent of respondents were from Virginia, Maryland or D.C. Is this poll a fair study of mid-Atlantic tea partyers? Possibly, especially if TargetPoint grabbed the activists who held their own rallies elsewhere and showed up closer to the end of the big D.C. event. But that makes it hard to find national significance in this poll. Only a few results look like they could be applied elsewhere, such as this one.

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It's useful to see this captured -- tea partyers are by and large Republican voters who may not want to identify themselves as Republicans.

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By David Weigel  |  April 19, 2010; 8:42 AM ET
Categories:  Polls , Tea Party  | Tags: Maryland, Politico, Republican, Ron Paul, Tea Party protests 2009, United States, Virginia, Washington Monument  
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