The Tea Party Is Still Basically the Religious Right

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A new survey from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life sheds further light on the religious views of the Tea Party. In short, they're more evangelical and more socially conservative than your average American:

A new analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that Tea Party supporters tend to have conservative opinions not just about economic matters, but also about social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. In addition, they are much more likely than registered voters as a whole to say that their religion is the most important factor in determining their opinions on these social issues.2 And they draw disproportionate support from the ranks of white evangelical Protestants.

This is completely in tune with other polling on the subject. As I've written before, there isn't much to distinguish the Tea Party from social conservatives, or more broadly, the religious right. Both groups hold nearly identical views on abortion, gay rights, and other social issues. Tea Party Republicans may have campaigned on tax cuts and small government, but they are just as occupied with restricting reproductive health, and sticking it to gay people. Which is to say this: Liberals have been shocked by the recent rash of radical legislation against abortion, but we should expect more as the 112th Congress drags on. With a divided government, Republican leaders don't have much to deliver to their constituents, and in the absence of actual policies, symbolic laws to (effectively) outlaw abortion are good red meat for the base.

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