But the polls are missing one key ingredient: the intensity of feeling and the level of determination among the 28% of American adults (66 million people) who consider themselves part of the tea party or are supportive of it. To these people, 2012 is not “just another election.” It is the defining political battle of our lifetime.

Most of these 66 million tea partiers will vote in November. But they will do much more than vote. They will also make unprecedented personal sacrifices in time and money to help get out the vote. To a person, these 66 million Americans believe that if Barack Obama is re-elected, the constitutional republic as we know it will be destroyed. They are determined not to let this happen on their watch.

Reports that the tea party movement has lost steam are entirely the creation of a mainstream media that wants the movement to go away. Recent polls show that support for the movement is higher today than it was two years ago, in the spring of 2010. The tactics of this large and growing group have evolved from the high-profile rallies of 2009-2010 to a more organized and focused national get-out-the-vote effort. Every night, the country is honeycombed with a series of local and regional conference calls among the local leaders of this dedicated group. New tea party groups — estimated at around 3,000 at the start of the year — are being formed at an accelerating rate. These new groups are smaller, more localized and highly focused on one objective: getting out the vote in November.