August 12, 2013

Fewer GOP voters agree with the Tea Party than in 2010


About four-in-ten Republican voters say they agree with the Tea Party movement, down from its height in 2010.

In the 2010 midterm elections, Tea Party candidates were a key force in helping the Republican Party capture a majority in the House, although the defeats of some Senate candidates favored by the movement may have hurt GOP chances to take control in that chamber as well.

Currently, 42% of Republicans and Republican-leaning registered voters say they agree with the Tea Party movement, according to a survey conducted last month. This is little changed over the course of the last year, but down from the height of the movement in 2010 when, in the three months immediately preceding the election, 54% of Republican voters identified with the Tea Party.

Although 56% of GOP voters do not express support for the Tea Party, this number consists mostly of those who do not have an opinion; only 11% actively disagree with the movement, the remaining 44% say they have no opinion.

The segment of the Republican electorate that is affiliated with the Tea Party differs substantially from other Republican voters, both demographically and ideologically.

Overall, Republican voters are evenly divided by gender. Six-in-ten Tea Party Republicans, by contrast, are male.

Those who agree with the Tea Party are also considerably older (67% are 50 or older, compared with just 52% of other Republicans). A third (33%) of Tea Party Republicans have at least a college degree, compared with 23% of other Republicans. Similarly, Tea Party Republicans are more affluent than others affiliated with the GOP. White evangelicals—who are 31% of all Republican voters—are 36% of those affiliated with the Tea Party.

Topics: Political Attitudes and Values, Political Party Affiliation, U.S. Political Parties

  1. Photo of Bruce Drake

    is a senior editor at Pew Research Center.


  1. cynthia curran3 years ago

    I always thought the Tea Party were small business men not the lower middle class that the left seen them as. I was right, a little more college and higher income than the average Republican which is why they can be for smaller taxes and less welfare since they usually make enough to avoid having to go on welfare and so forth.

  2. Bob3 years ago

    “…only 11% actively disagree with the movement, the remaining 44% say they have no opinion”. So an AstroTurf group has caused the party to remain the minority in the Senate and have control of the House to the point that it is non-functioning, and 44% have no opinion. It makes you wonder what you would need to do for them to have an opinion.

  3. jude folly3 years ago

    “Every time a voter stands back to blame the government for decisions or bureaucratic folly that violate common sense, that individual abdicates his or her responsibility as a citizen legislator.

    “What responsibility?

    “To be specific, first, voters have avoided the effort of staying informed about decisions their elected representatives make–the “why?” or “how much money?” that is incentive for the casting of each legislative vote. Then, more importantly, a majority of voters remain disorganized, unable to ply the force of their considerable numbers. They find it far more preferable to complain than having to interact with other voters for the cause of improving our republic.”

    “‘Small gov’t’ slogans are for suckers”…