I just ran across this
In The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson, Harvard scholars who have interviewed adherents of the new insurgency in different regions of the country, report that
fully 83% of South Dakota Tea Party supporters said they would prefer to “leave alone” or “increase” Social Security benefits, while 78% opposed cuts to Medicare prescription drug coverage, and 79% opposed cuts in Medicare payments to physicians and hospitals…. 56% of the Tea Party supporters surveyed did express support for “raising income taxes by 5% for everyone whose income is over a million dollars a year.”
These views, which are aligned with those of moderate Republicans and Democrats, corroborate the findings in a 2010 New York Times poll of Tea Partiers, which concluded: “Despite their push for smaller government, they think that Social Security and Medicare are worth the cost to taxpayers.”
With one exception, Skocpol and Williamson write, “not a single grassroots Tea Party supporter we encountered argued for privatization of Social Security or Medicare,” pet projects of a conservative legislator like Paul Ryan and of organizations like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity. The Republican aspirants have adapted to these internal contradictions. They attack Obama for increasing government spending and at the same time for trimming $500 billion from Medicare.
The impracticality of this war against government, which in fact offers no serious plan to scale government back, suggests that the conservative populism of our moment is rooted not in a coherent worldview so much as in a “mood” or atmosphere of generalized, undifferentiated protest.