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Religion and the Tea Party in the 2010 Elections

Sponsor: Public Religion Research Institute
Released: 2010-09

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The survey confirmed several attributes of the Tea Party movement. Compared to the general population, they are more likely to be non-Hispanic white, are more supportive of small government, are overwhelmingly supportive of Sarah Palin, and report that Fox News is their most trusted source of news about politics and current events.

But the survey challenged much of the other conventional wisdom about Americans who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement: Nearly half (47%) also say they are part of the religious right or conservative Christian movement. They make up just 11% of the adult population. They are mostly social conservatives. They are largely Republican partisans.

A majority (54%) of voters say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported health care reform.

Nearly 6-in-10 (58%) Americans favor a policy that provides a future path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for several years.

Public support for same-sex marriage increased by 8 points from 2008 to 2010 (29% to 37%).

Over the past five years, significantly more Americans report their views have shifted on the issue of rights for gay and lesbian people than on the issue of abortion (25% to 14% respectively).