August 7, 2013

Tea Party Republicans exert stronger influence in GOP primaries


There is a 17-point gap between the percentage of Tea Party Republicans (62%) and non-Tea Party Republicans (45%) who say they always vote in primary elections.

A Pew Research survey in July found rank-and-file Republicans in agreement that their party needed to address major problems in order to do better in future presidential elections, but there was division over exactly how the party needed to change.

DN_Tea_PrimariesA major factor in this discussion is the influence Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who agree with the Tea Party exert in primary elections. Aside from challenges to Republican incumbents in state and congressional races in 2012, the 2012 GOP presidential primary season was marked by the rise and fall of a series of candidates who appealed to the party’s more conservative wing.

Overall, 62% of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters who agree with the Tea Party say they “always” vote in primary elections. By comparison, only 45% of non-Tea Party Republican voters say they always vote in primaries.

As a result, Tea Party Republicans make up nearly half of those in the GOP who always vote in primaries (49%), despite the fact that they are a minority of Republicans and Republican leaners overall (37%).

Non-Tea Party Republicans make up 60% of Republicans and Republican leaners overall, but because they are less likely to vote in primary elections, they compose a far smaller percentage of GOP voters who say they “always” vote in primary elections (48%).

Category: Daily Number

Topics: U.S. Political Parties, Political Party Affiliation, 2012 Election, Political Typology

  1. Photo of Alec Tyson

    is a senior researcher focusing on U.S. politics and policy at Pew Research Center.

1 Comment

  1. DK Southern3 years ago

    The more emotional you are about your politics, the more likely you are to go vote, hence, the more impactful the emotional voters are in a primary. They want everyone to get their “message”, so they show up in ALL elections, including primaries. In addition, the older voter tends to be further right, and the more likely they are to be retired, so the easier it is for them to make the time to vote.

    So there is the Republican’s problem in a nutshell; how to get through the primaries without becoming labelled as a far-right candidate who is more likely to be a riskier candidate in the general election. Then, in the event they actually get elected, how do they stay true to those who got them elected and still participate in a government that has more and more diversity issues every day.