There is a fascinating poll out from Pew. I'm always amazed when the national media pooh poohs the Tea Party then directs considerable resources to study its positions and sentiments. As might be expected, after Edward Snowden's revelation that the NSA was collecting phone metadata on virtually all Americans, the public changed its mind on the balance between security and freedom. No demographic was more effected than the Tea Party. In less than 3 years it went from 20% thinking the government had gone too far in protecting in restricting civil liberties to 55% thinking it had. Notice that moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans seem the least concerned about the restriction on civil liberties.
Another demographic that jumps out is the young. In the 18 to 29 year old bracket a full 60% sees too much restriction on civil liberties. These are Obama voters!
It's hard to predict where this will go. It's doubtful that that NSA spying will be the defining issue in the 2016 presidential election. In the 2014 mid terms I would not be surprised to see liberal Democrats use this issue to run against moderate Republicans nor Tea Party candidates to use it against moderate Democrats.
As to the Tea Party evolution, I've always maintained the Tea Party had a deep libertarian streak. With Rand Paul and Ted Cruz as its most visible spokesmen the Tea Party, it seems, has staked out new ground in the area of civil liberties, no longer content to restrict it focus solely on smaller government and lower taxes. As it has found leadership who can articulate the values it intuitively held it is becoming a more powerful force.
The MSM gleefully reports that the Republican Party is divided. Good. Competition brings out the best. The civil rights clashes between Hubert Humphrey and Strom Thurmond grew the Democratic Party as did the the anti-Vietnam War movement. Complacency is not a virtue and thank God the Tea Party is not complacent.