American Values Survey Print

Survey | Religion and the Tea Party in the 2010 Elections

[10.05.2010]

Nearly Half of Tea Party Movement also identify with Christian Conservative Movement

Third Biennial American Values Survey Profiles Tea Party Movement, Religion Reveals Attitudes on Economic and Social Issues in Upcoming Elections

Read the full report here.
Read the news release here.
Read the Questionnaire, Topline Results and Survey Methodology here.

The American Values Survey (AVS) is a large, nationally representative public opinion survey of American attitudes on religion, values, and politics. The 2010 survey is the third biennial AVS, which is conducted by PRRI every two years as the national election season is getting underway. Results of the 2010 American Values Survey are based on telephone interviews conducted among a national random sample of 3,013 adults (age 18 and over) between September 1 and September 14, 2010.

Among the top findings:

  • 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. Among the more than 8-in-10 (81%) who identify as Christian within the Tea Party movement, 57% also consider themselves part of the Christian conservative movement.
    • They make up just 11% of the adult population—half the size of the conservative Christian movement (22%).
    • They are mostly social conservatives, not libertarians on social issues. Nearly two-thirds (63%) say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, and less than 1-in-5 (18%) support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.
    • They are largely Republican partisans. More than three-quarters say they identify with (48%) or lean towards (28%) the Republican Party. More than 8-in-10 (83%) say they are voting for or leaning towards Republican candidates in their districts, and nearly three-quarters (74%) of this group report usually supporting Republican candidates.
  • A majority (54%) of voters say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported health care reform, including 51% of independent voters and 79% of Democratic voters. Nearly 6-in-10 (59%) Republican voters say they would be less 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. Two-thirds (67%) of Americans also say immigration reform policies should be decided at the national level.
  • Public support for same-sex marriage increased by 8 points from 2008 to 2010 (29% to 37%). Half of Democrats, 4-in-10 independents, and less than 1-in-5 (17%) Republicans support allowing gay and lesbian people to marry.
  • 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).

Read the full report here.
Read the news release here.
Read the Questionnaire, Topline Results and Survey Methodology here.