Wednesday October 6, 2010

Survey Finds Tea Partiers Socially Conservative, Religious

By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 6, 2010 ( – A new American Values Survey shows that among adults in the Tea Party movement, most are socially conservative and nearly half identify with the Christian conservative movement.

The American Values Survey (AVS) for 2010 was conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and examined a national random sample of 3,013 adults aged 18 and over between September 1 and September 14, 2010.

Those surveyed who identified with the Tea Party, a movement of Americans concerned over the size and scope of government regulation, taxes, and its effect on the U.S. economy, revealed they are generally social conservatives, not social libertarians.

Sixty-three percent of Tea Partiers surveyed said abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.

Well over 4 out of 5 Tea Party adults oppose the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” Of these, nearly half (45 percent) said homosexual unions should have “no legal recognition.” Thirty-five percent said they would only grant civil unions to homosexuals.

Almost half (47 percent) of all adults identified with the Tea Party said they also view themselves as members of the Christian conservative movement.

Eight out of ten within the Tea Party identify themselves as Christian. Over half (57 percent) of this subgroup said they are part of the Christian conservative movement.

The poll estimated from those surveyed that 11 percent of the general population identifies as members of the Tea Party, while 22 percent identify themselves as Christian conservatives.

However, the AVS survey had an under-representative sample of Republican voters (24 percent), making it less likely that AVS’s analysis of trends within the general population are entirely accurate.

Those identifying as independent voters (40 percent) and Democrats (32 percent) were closer to national estimates of partisan affiliation in the AVS survey.

Rasmussen Reports, which tracks party affiliations based on monthly telephone interviews of 15,000 adults, reported that for the month of August, 35.4 percent identified as Democrat, while 31.8 percent said they were Republican.

Among those surveyed in the AVS poll, 80 percent said they were registered to vote. AVS did not ask whether respondents would also be likely voters in the 2010 election.

About 76 percent of Tea Party members said they leaned toward the GOP, including 48 percent who said they identified with the Republican Party.

View the AVS Analysis “Religion and the Tea Party” here.

Read the results of PRRI’s American Values Survey 2010 here.

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