Tea Party Conservatives Are Not Like Other Conservatives

by John Sides on March 28, 2011

in Public opinion

Such is the conclusion of a new survey by political scientist Chris Parker of the University of Washington. Here is one finding:

To capture the difference between the two camps, we asked whether or not people thought the following proposition true: “Barack Obama is destroying the country.” If Tea Party conservatives were as extreme as some suggest, we thought asking a question of this type, i.e., fairly extreme, would tease out differences between the two camps. The data suggest the two conservative factions are divided on this question. Under these circumstances, 6% of non-Tea Party conservatives believe the president is destroying the country versus the 71% of Tea Party conservatives who believe this to be true.

This was derived from a list experiment—a research design that helps to uncover sentiments that a person might normally want to hide. (An example is here.) Another tidbit:

More than twice as many Tea Party conservatives desire to see the president’s policies fail (76%) than non-Tea Party conservatives (32%). Why might this be the case?…Perhaps it’s because three quarters (75 %) of Tea Party conservatives believe that President Obama’s policies are socialist compared to 40% of non-Tea Party conservatives…

Find more here.

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