This morning, I wrote that the media was ignoring the obvious links between Tea Party followers and the platform of the religious right. Now, a new poll just published by the Public Religion Research Institute has found that half of those who consider themselves members of the Tea Party identify as part of the religious right.
Key findings of the survey are that:
- 47 percent of Tea Party adherents also consider themselves members of the religious right;
- They are mostly social conservatives, not libertarians, on social issues. Two-thirds of the respondents said abortion should be illegal in all or most cases and only one in five supports same-sex marriage;
- They are “largely Republican partisans,” according to the report. More than three-quarters say they identify with or lean toward the Republican party.
Part of me says: Duh. Given the overwhelming “anecdotal evidence” provided by the statements and actions of the candidates affiliated with the Tea Party the past several months, and the evidence provided in the recent New Yorker article, this feels like no news to me. On the other hand, as always, hard data makes the case.
Among the differences between Christian conservatives and tea partiers identified by the poll:
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“is their source of news, with 39 percent of the former group saying Fox News is their most trusted source for “accurate information about politics and current events” and 57 percent of the latter group saying that.”
If that is the material difference, God save us.
The Washington Post reports that Robert Jones, chief executive of PRRI, said the poll, which was funded by the Ford Foundation, aimed to clarify the relationship between the two groups.
“The way the data looks, if this is a marriage of convenience, it’s one that would be against the law. The relatives are too close,” said Jones, a self-described progressive.
In other words? A religious right agenda by any other name still smells….