The tea party “even less popular than much maligned groups like ‘atheists’ and ‘Muslims,'” is a follow-up statement by Campbell and Putnam from their most recent survey posted in the New York Times article “Crashing the Tea Party.”
Campbell and Putnam first conducted interviews of 3000 Americans in 2006 and conducted follow up interviews this past summer, interviewing many of the same people, to see how views have changed over this period. They also reference other surveys done by the New York Times that showed a growing dislike for the tea party. Campbell and Putnam claim to have unlocked the secret of the tea party in their research. Campbell and Putnam claim to have discovered the hidden ties that created the tea party, but I believe they have missed the mark by a bit.
First, it’s worth mentioning that representatives are supposed to represent the views of the particular area from which they were elected and not those of the entire populous. With that said, if it were tea party members who helped to elect a Representative, then it would make sense for that representative to embody the views of the tea party members who elected said representative.
In their research they claim that the “real” ties that are binding the tea party members are Republican affiliation and the desire to see religion play a part in politics.
The tea party, however, claims that their main goal is smaller government and greater accountability. So to break this down, typically, Republicans have stood for smaller government while Democrats are for larger government. It would make sense, then, that those who once stood by the Republican Party, as the party that is supposed to hold to greater accountability and smaller government, would begin a movement for these things if the party were not producing them. This, then, would make them bipartisan since they did not already hold to Democratic ideals and have now moved against the Republicans for not doing the job either.
In addition, they claim Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann as tea favorites, and would if records show them to support smaller government and more controlled spending and accountability. The fact that they do not hide their religious convictions is not the main reason tea party supporters would back them. It is simply understood, if you have four candidates that are for smaller government and greater accountability, and two of them happen to share your own religious convictions, which are you more likely to support? Typically, we weight the number of positives in deciding whom we support; they simply have more positives for the tea party than others do.
Find Campbell and Putnam’s article at the following link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/17/opinion/crashing-the-tea-party.html