Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tea Party motivation - Taxes? No, Religion? Yes

Fascinating research by Harvard's Bob Putnam and David Campbell about the motivations of the Tea Party - as pointed out in this piece at Big Think:

"Campbell and Putnam found Tea Party is not for the most part composed of non-partisan political newcomers who were radicalized by the poor economy and the expansion of government. In fact, Tea Party supporters were for the most part activist Republicans well before both the financial crisis and before Obama’s election. Campbell and Putnam found that Republican affiliation was actually the single strongest predictor of Tea Party support, and that Tea Party supporters were more likely than other people to have lobbied their public officials before.

Campbell and Putnam also found that concerns in 2006 about the economy and the size of government are not strongly correlated with Tea Party affiliation today. Today’s Tea Party supporters are disproportionately white social conservatives, who, Campbell and Putnam say, “had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and still do.” And while Tea Party leaders say their main concern is limiting the size of government, Campbell and Putnam found that the cause that really unites rank-and-file Tea Partiers is a desire for more religion in government."

Putnam, as well as any researcher, understands American views on religion. His most recent work is a classic in the field -

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