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Are Tea Partiers Social Conservatives?

October 5, 2010, 12:23 pm | Posted by Nick Sementelli

Dan’s earlier post showed how the tea party isn’t really that different from the traditional base of the Republican party. But the graph he used had another useful intersection that helps shed light on a particularly related question: are the tea party and the Religious Right the same?

Early descriptions of the tea party often focused on their concerns about fiscal issues and their overlap with libertarians and Ron Paul supporters. Leaders framed this avoidance of social issues as a strategic move to attract independents.

But as the label has grown more popular, social conservatives have begun insisting that they are tea partiers too, nowhere more strongly than at the Family Research Council’s Values Voters Forum last month.

So which is it? Well…both:


This shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Given their non-hierarchical organizational structure and the competing umbrella groups attempting to corral them, it’s difficult to nail down exactly what a specific tea party agenda looks like. As long as it remains a popular identifier in the minds of conservative voters, I would expect any and all groups on the right to try to claim the title.

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