White evangelicals strongest supporters of Tea Party
A survey showed recently that the strongest supporters of the Tea Party are white evangelical Christians.
The latest Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life indicated that 44 percent of white evangelicals are in agreement with the Tea Party, followed by white non-Hispanic Catholics at 33 percent, Protestants at 31 percent and Catholics at 29 percent, according to Deseret News.
Jews and Unaffiliated are both at 15 percent in agreement with the Tea Party, followed by atheist/agnostic at 12 percent and black Protestant at seven percent, Deseret News said.
The religious group that is most strongly in disagreement with the Tea Party is the atheist/agnostic sector (67 percent), Jews (49 percent), unaffiliated (42 percent), black Protestant (37 percent), Catholics (23 percent), white non-Hispanic Catholics (22 percent), Protestants (21 percent) and white Evangelicals (eight percent), Deseret News said.
Among those who have no opinion/knowledge of the Tea Party (or who refused to respond), the largest religious sector is black Protestant (56 percent), then Protestant, white Evangelical and Catholic (48 percent), white non-Hispanic Catholic (45 percent), unaffiliated (43 percent), Jews (35 percent) and atheist/agnostic (20 percent).
Religion as determining factor
The study showed that those who support the Tea Party are largely people whose religion is a factor that guides their political stands on major social issues, including same-sex marriage and abortion according to Deseret News.
The findings are also consistent with a 2010 survey on American Values by the Public Research Institute. This shows that although the Tea Party claims not to be a religious movement, the survey indicates a correlation between sympathizers who are largely faith-directed and agreement with the Tea Party, Deseret News said.
Losing influence, shift in stands on issues
Other surveys show that the Tea Party is less influential now than when it first started, and Americans are taking stands on specific issues that go against the stands taken by the Tea Party, according to Newsworks.
A CNN-Opinion Research Corp. poll showed that only 32 percent of those surveyed viewed the Tea Party favorably, five percent less than in December, Newsworks said.
Another Pew Research Center showed this week that 55 percent of all Americans would like to see a compromise reached in
the budget, while 36 percent felt that no compromise of principles is acceptable, even if the consequence is a shutdown. Independents also prefer compromise at 53 percent, Newsworks said.
This is in contrast to tea partiers, 68 percent of whom are against compromise, while only 26 percent are for it, according to Newsworks.
A third poll, this time by NBC News-Wall Street Journal, showed a shift in sentiment since last October. At 51 percent, independents feel “government should do more to solve problems and help meet the needs of people,” Newsworks said.
This is a change from last October, when only 38 percent of independents wanted more involvement from government. Newsworks said the change is likely because last November they were largely dissatisfied with the jobless rate, among other issues. Even then, there was no sign that they endorsed the Tea Party.
Newsworks said it is self delusional to believe that the Tea Party is representative of “the American people.” Newsworks explained, “It is far more accurate to say that they represent a vocal, out-of-the-mainstream minority.”
The Evening Standard described the Tea Party as more of a pressure group that has no formal constitution, adding, “[T]he evidence is beginning to come to light that its power is on the wane. The popular anger that it once articulated is just beginning to dissipate.”
An advantage of the Tea Party, according to the Evening Standard, is that it is “an organization without responsibility,”
according to The Evening Standard.
However, both the Evening Standard and Newsworks agree that Republicans are reluctant to speak up against the Tea Party.
Newsworks said, “The problem…is that the tea-party mentality dominates the GOP as we lurch toward a shutdown.”