This should come as no surprise to regualar readers of this site, but there’s a new survey just out from the Public Religion Research Institute that shows once again that the supposed antipathy of the Christian Right and the Tea Party Movement is a chimera. Among self-described Tea Party Movement members:
* 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.
The Tea Party Movement is largely a radicalized cohort of Republican voters who are by no means libertarians or anything else new under the sun. They are just a lot noisier now, and have a new set of props and some rhetoric borrowed from several very old strains of conservative extremism. They aren’t going away any time soon, but nor did they come out of nowhere in response to the policies of Barack Obama. We all need to get used to it.