A survey out today confirms the sense many observers of the Tea Party movement have had regarding members’ religious leanings. The American Values Survey, conducted biennially by the Public Religion Research Institute, found that 47% of those who identify themselves as supporters of the Tea Party movement also describe themselves as being part of the religious right or the conservative Christian movement.
Eight of 10 Tea Partiers identify themselves as Christians, and among them, a majority say they are conservative Christians. More detailed questions confirm the social conservative nature of Tea Party supporters: A majority of them oppose abortion rights, and only a small minority support gay marriage rights.
The conclusion of the survey is that while the Tea Party is seen primarily as a small-government, low-tax movement, on social issues it is closer to the social conservative pole than to the libertarian one.
“There are striking similarities between the demographic and political profiles of Americans who identify with the Tea Party and the Christian conservative movements,” states the survey. “Much of these similarities can be attributed to one illuminating finding — the significant overlap between these two groups and the overlap between these two groups and the Republican Party.”
The Forward reported recently about concern in Jewish circles about the close affiliation between the Tea Party movement and Christian conservative values. The new survey seems to reinforce many of these concerns, as it describes the similarities between the two movements.