An October 2010 Washington Post canvass of 647 local Tea Party organizers asked 'which national figure best represents your groups?' and got the following responses: no one 34%, Sarah Palin 14%, Glenn Beck 7%, Jim DeMint 6%, Ron Paul 6%, Michele Bachmann 4%. The success of candidates popular within the Tea Party movement has boosted Palin's visibility. Rasmussen and Schoen (2010) conclude that 'She is the symbolic leader of the movement, and more than anyone else has helped to shape it.
The movement has been supported nationally by prominent individuals and organizations, including:
Tea Party Patriots, an organization with more than 1,000 affiliated groups across the nation that proclaims itself to be the Official Home of the Tea Party Movement'
Americans for Prosperity, an organization founded by David H. Koch in 2003, and led by Tim Phillips. The group has over 1 million members in 500 local affiliates and led protests against health care reform in 2009.
FreedomWorks, an organization led by Matt Kibbe. Like Americans for Prosperity, the group has over 1 million members in 500 local affiliates. It makes local and national candidate endorsements
Tea Party Express, a national bus tour run by Our Country Deserves Better PAC, itself a conservative political action committee created by Sacramento-based Republican consulting firm Russo, Marsh, and Associates
For-profit businesses: Tea Party Nation, which sponsored the National Tea Party Convention that was criticized for its $549 ticket price and because Palin was apparently paid $100,000 for her appearance (which she put towards SarahPAC
Informal organizations and coalitions:
The National Tea Party Federation, formed on April 8, 2010, by several leaders in the Tea Party movement to help spread its message and to respond to critics with a quick, unified response
The Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, a loose national coalition of several dozen local tea party groups
Prominent individuals: In July 2010, Bachmann formed the House congressional Tea Party Caucus. This congressional caucus, which Bachmann chairs, is devoted to the Tea Party's stated principles of fiscal responsibility, adherence to the Constitution, and limited government'. As of March 31, 2011, the caucus consisted of 62 Republican representatives. Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Melissa Clouthier have accused them of trying to hijack or co-opt the grassroots Tea Party Movement.
Student movement: Tea Party Students organized the 1st National Tea Party Students Conference, which was hosted by Tea Party Patriots at its American Policy Summit in Phoenix on February 25–27, 2011. The conference included sessions with Campus Reform, Students For Liberty, Young America’s Foundation, and Young Americans for Liberty.