Is the Religious Right Taking Over the Tea Party? Are Libertarians Leaving it Like Afraid Children?

Is the Tea Party Doomed?

As we all know the Tea Party is being co-opted by the religious conservatives.  And we must give them credit for having the stamina and determination to do it.  At the same time; what does it say of Libertarians that they are leaving their creation to be taken advantage of by another group?

At the very least it is would be very irresponsible for the Freedom Movement to inspire the Tea Party and then to leave it by the wayside because it is easier to preach to the choir than it is to maintain a presence at the meetings, rallies and influence it.

We, ate the have said it many times before; the Tea Party will decide who wins in 2012, it will decide if it is a warmonger Military Industrial Complex president, meaning another Obama or Bush, or whether we will finally elect a Constitutional President and Congress to go with it.

It is at our peril that the Freedom Movement abandons this movement to the neocons, warmongers and the paid shills. It is your decision, will you stick by your guns and help Restore the Republic with the tool of our own creation, or are you giving up in defeat?

————- For over 17,000 Americans taking one of MyType’s psychology surveys, we inserted a question about the Tea Party to reveal the demographics, values, morals and personalities of the movement’s supporters (see the full report).  Looking for the defining characteristics of a presumably cohesive party, we instead found the movement in the middle of an identity crisis.  According to MyType’s data, devoutly religious conservatives comprise 22.5% of the Tea Party and are its fastest growing segment.  They bring with them a fundamentally different set of values, morals and personalities than libertarian supporters, a core group that represent 17% of the party.  While the former tend to be morally charged, family-oriented traditionalists, many libertarian supporters are neither religious nor traditional.  Rather, they are independent, intellectual, and morally permissive.  The rising prominence of religious conservatives within the movement, highlighted by recent religious right rhetoric from several prominent figures affiliated with the Tea Party, appears to be driving away libertarians and others.  Despite the surge in support from religious conservatives, overall support for the Tea Party is in decline.

To mitigate sample bias, the set of over 17,000 American respondents was normalized to reflect the age, gender, location and distribution of the general US population between the ages of 18 and 60. MyType's methodology is explained in detail in the full report.

Turnover Within the Tea Party

In keeping with a recent Public Research Institute poll, MyType’s survey data indicate that devoutly religious conservatives are the fastest growing segment within the Tea Party.  From early August to mid-October, Tea Party support among religious conservatives climbed from 47.4% to 58.5%, a relative increase of over 23%.  During the same period, opposition among religious conservatives dropped from 9.9% to a negligible 0.5%.

Libertarian supporters, on the other hand, appear to be leaving the movement. Between late September and mid-October, support among libertarians dropped from 46.7% to 37.8%, a relative decline of over 19%. During the same period, opposition among libertarians climbed from 11.1% to 16.0%.

Tea Party Identity Crisis


This table highlights notable tendencies in the two groups of supporters, not exclusive definitions. For instance, while there are religious conservative supporters who are interested in science, on the whole this groups stands out for its high percentage of people interested in religion and family.

It seems unlikely that these distinct groups can remain united under one political banner.  And indeed, the rise of religious conservatives and decline of libertarians within the Tea Party indicate a brewing identity crisis for the movement.  The Tea Party protests began with the core libertarian values still listed on the party’s official website: fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets.  Notably absent is any mention of social issues.  Recently, however, prominent political candidates and public figures affiliated with the party have made headlines with their statements on social issues, including speaking out against abortion and homosexuality and questioning the separation of church and state.  While this seems to be attracting religious conservatives to the Tea Party, it’s likely driving away socially permissive libertarians and others who originally joined the movement for its focus on scaling back government.  Involving the government in moral prescription is expanding its influence, not scaling back.  Karl Denninger, widely credited as one of the founders of the Tea Party, may have become the spokesman of Tea Party defectors when he recently denounced the movement, saying it has been hijacked by people obsessed with “guns, gays and God”.

Given the religious conservatives’ relative strength in numbers, the current trend will likely continue.  Already they comprise over 23.5% of Tea Party supporters, compared to 17.0% for libertarians.  A little over a year after the birth of the Tea Party, libertarians and other proponents of small government – no moral strings attached – may need to start yet another movement.

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1 Comment

  1. I, can honestly say,, that for my region,,the progress made by libertarians this year have only emboldend us., Not to deny the presance of the christian right,,they are obvious.
    But,,Were deffinatly not ready to “give up the ghost”, of the southern liberty movement.