tea party movement

CASE STUDY: Tea Time in America?

Christopher F. Karpowitz, Brigham Young University
J. Quin Monson, Brigham Young University
Kelly D. Patterson, Brigham Young University
Jeremy C. Pope, Brigham Young University

The Impact of the Tea Party Movement on the 2010 Midterm Elections
Given the extensive media attention that Tea Party rallies and other aspects of the movement have received, a key question is: How have Tea Party efforts translated into votes? Specifically, in the 2010 midterm elections, did a Tea Party endorsement lead to an increase in vote share for Republican candidates?1 One of the challenges of studying this movement is that by philosophy and design, it lacks a central leadership structure that coordinates nationwide efforts. Instead, the Tea Party is a far-flung patchwork of organizations, some local and some national, with a related set of issue concerns and positions. Some of these organizations—the Tea Party Patriots, the Campaign for Liberty, or Glenn Beck’s 9/12 Project, for example—choose not to endorse candidates. Other Tea Party–affiliated groups do offer official or public endorsements, although their efforts do not appear to be coordinated, and, as will become evident, patterns of endorsement vary widely across the different groups.

We identified several organizations or political leaders that either explicitly adopt the Tea Party label or are often identified by news organizations as affiliates of the movement. Groups that endorsed numerous candidates in numerous states and thus seemed to acquire a national presence included the Tea Party Express, the Independence Caucus, the Boston Tea Party, and Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks. Based on information from Tea Party organizations themselves and local and national press accounts, we compiled a dataset of variables charting whether each of these organizations endorsed the Republican candidate in every congressional district in the country.2 Because of her high profile within the movement and the fact that her candidate endorsements were heavily publicized,we also included a measure of whether Sarah Palin endorsed the Republican candidate. In addition to these national organizations and individuals,we searched the major newspapers within every state for any evidence of endorsement of congressional candidates by local Tea Party groups.

However, affiliation with the Tea Party also mattered in other important ways. Candidates endorsed by the Tea Party Express and Sarah Palin garnered approximately 8 to 9 percentage points more than candidates who did not receive an endorsement. Candidates who adopted the Tea Party label themselves by signing the Contract from America did even better, with their vote shares increasing by more than 20 points.11 In the 2010 Republican primaries, either bearing a Tea Party stamp of approval or showing a willingness to affiliate with Tea Party principles clearly improved a candidate’s electoral prospects.

Read the whole study here

Statement on the Republican “Pledge To America”

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A HARDCOPY OF THIS STATEMENT

The Contract from America Foundation made the following announcement today regarding the newly released Republican “Pledge to America”:

We are pleased that the Republicans were so heavily influenced by the message of the grassroots Contract from America that their “Pledge to America” includes many of our Contract’s planks, including the top-voted idea to “Protect the Constitution” by requiring every bill to cite Constitutional authority, rejection of Cap and Trade, the imposition of meaningful spending limits, repeal of government-run health care, and extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. We are also pleased that they so admired the Contract’s model of allowing for real citizen input that they created their own website, America Speaking Out, to approximate the same function. This is evidence that Republicans are beginning to listen to the millions of ordinary Americans that are fed up with Washington’s ways.

Republican Congressmen, Senators, and candidates should still sign the Contract from America, which boldly tackles the challenges of fundamental tax reform, passage of a balanced budget amendment with a supermajority requirement for any tax hike, and real earmark reform.

The Contract from America is handed up from the true grassroots in this country. After garnering nearly half a million votes in less than two months, the Contract from America is a blueprint that reflects what the people want for their future. If Republicans sign the Contract, they will prove that they are listening to the will of millions of grassroots activists that have protested the unconscionable expansion of government.

Over 300 candidates have signed the Contract from America, including Senators DeMint and Coburn, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Representative Michele Bachmann, and Senate candidates Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, Jerry Moran, Dino Rossi, Ron Johnson, John Boozman, Kelly Ayotte, and John Raese.