February 23rd, 2011
05:15 PM ET

Tea Party support correlates to religious affiliation, survey finds

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

The Tea Party hardly claims to be a religious movement - it mostly advocates for smaller government and lower taxes - but feelings about the movement correlate to affiliation with certain religious groups, according to new survey data from the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

White evangelical Protestants are roughly five times more likely to agree with the Tea Party movement than to disagree with it, Pew found. American Jews, meanwhile, are nearly three times as likely to disagree with the movement than agree with it.

Tea Party supporters 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 ... social issues" like abortion and same-sex marriage, according to the Pew analysis.

"They draw disproportionate support from the ranks of white evangelical Protestants," the analysis said of the Tea Party.

Tea Party supporters comprised 41% of the electorate in November, previous Pew polling found, with the overwhelming majority backing Republican candidates, contributing to the GOP's House takeover.

The Pew surveys, conducted from November 2010 through this month, found that white evangelicals are the most pro-Tea Party religious demographic in the country. Forty-four percent of white evangelicals agree with the movement, while 8 percent disagree, though roughly half have no opinion or have not heard of the movement.

About one in three white Catholics and a similar share of white mainline Protestants also agree with the Tea Party, Pew found. Among those two groups at least one in five disagrees with the movement. Roughly 45% of white Catholics and mainline Protestants have no opinion about the Tea Party or have not heard of it.

Jews, black Protestants and the religiously unaffiliated are the religious demographics least supportive of the Tea Party, Pew found. About half of Jews say they disagree with the Tea Party movement, while 15% agree with it.

Among black Protestants, those who disagree with the Tea Party outnumber those who agree with it by more than five to one, though 56% say they have no opinion or have not heard of the movement.

About two-thirds of atheists and agnostics disagree with the movement, Pew found.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Christianity • Judaism • Politics

soundoff (313 Responses)
  1. srlqqgl

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    November 27, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
  2. Lilly

    George Barna found that those with a "Biblical Worldview", defined by his 7 questions, were 10 times more likely to be political conservatives than political liberals. There is a Biblical basis for fiscal conservativism.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:39 am |
  3. g

    Did god create man, or did man create god?

    Isn't it obvious?

    March 24, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  4. kimball

    After reading some of the posts, I think I will spend my time elsewhere. What a lost and know-it-all generation.

    March 1, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  5. Lee

    who cares!

    February 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  6. sealchan

    It seems to me that Republicans want to encourage moral behavior in an Old Testament fashion where God (or the State) comes down and punishes or fails to support those who are "weaker". Democrats want to eliminate want by pre-legislating support systems (socialist insti-tutions) and share the cost of this.

    But Christ said, "Blessed are the poor..." Which then is more just? Liberal giving to the poor or Conservative withholding from the same?

    February 24, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • ASquirrel

      Good point, sealchan. "Christian Conservative" doesn't make any sense. Conservatives are about self interest and Christians are about selflessness. The two don't go together AT ALL but try telling that to a Teabag.

      February 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  7. scott

    Last time I tea bagged, it was because I was too sweaty.

    February 24, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  8. Anglican

    Good Morning. I am a devout Christian. In my less than expert opinion, the tea party is about greed and racism. There is no room in their agenda for care of the poor and those who are different. Not Christ-like at all. Peace.

    February 24, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • james


      February 24, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Lilly

      Angelica, our current economic situation, caused by out-of-control spending, is not benefiting the poor or minorities. It appears that the Tea Party is the only group out there that currently cares about the poor and minorities.

      March 27, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • Karen

      Anglican, it is interesting that while Conservatives contribute a percentage of their own income to charity that is twice what liberals contribute liberals always measure concern for the poor in willingness to spend someone else's resources. I'd say true concern for the poor is to struggle daily with the concerns of the poor and not attempt to insolate ourselves from their problems by asking the government to solve it. The Biblical approach to dealing with the poor is more compassionate than the socialistic approach.

      March 27, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  9. Doc Vestibule

    Not too long ago, these people were part of Falwell's "Moral Majority".
    Their goals were to censor media, promote "traditional family values", outlaw abortion in every case (including if carrying to term threatens the life of the mother and child), ensure that arms production never wanes, make sure gays are denied their rights, and of course to convert the heathens to evangelical christianity.

    Slap a coat of "fiscal concern" paint on them and VOILA! you've got the Tea Party.
    Same stink, different pile.

    February 24, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  10. HotAirAce

    The Republicans and The Tea Baggers will be very popular until Palin (and any running mate 'cause I promised I wouldn't mention Beck as VP) gets nominated for president, and then gets destroyed in 2012. Americans should look north to see what a split in the conservative ranks, including the actual formation of an alternative conservative political party, did to the conservatives in Canada. It pretty much handed the government to the Liberal Party until the conservatives buried their differences and got rid of one party. Please note, you shouldn't read much into the names of Canadian political parties – ignoring the separatist Bloc Quebecois, while the Conservatives are generally right of the Liberals who are right of the New Democratic Pary, they all occupy the middle very well.

    February 24, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I miss the Canadian Reform Alliance Party, but only for their acronymn.

      February 24, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Doc Vestibule

      Yes, that was a sentinel moment in Canadian politics 'cause that's about how long they lasted.

      February 24, 2011 at 9:44 am |
  11. Danny G

    I take most of the Tea Party people as snake chunking Bible beaters who probably hate every religion but theirs and think everybody who doesn't think as they do is going to hell. Well, my answer to them is dress lightly folks, it's going to be very warm where you're going, and it won't be Maimi Beach.

    February 24, 2011 at 1:01 am |
  12. Waha

    Yawn.. a bunch of white Protestant men in their 40s/50s/60s that want "their" America back. Just like the native Americans and Hispanics that want their earlier America back. Whose country is this anyway? If Hispanics take back their land and Native Americans take back their land, what land are we talking about here!? The native Indians are now represented by East Indians these days! We had some expectations for Tea Party, quickly found these guys are plant-ins from Fox News, GOP and conservatives who simply want to cut spending on "other" people but want to keep spending on defense, medicare/medicaid and funds for conservative programs instead. How disappointing and racist! And to think I was almost conned into supporting them at one time.

    February 24, 2011 at 12:03 am |
  13. Reality

    Last time I checked there was a system of checks and balances in the USA. And the last time I checked there were six Catholics and three followers of Judaism on the Supreme Court and a luke-warm Christian fellow in the White House.

    And also the last time I checked, said luke-warm Christian was the leader of the Immoral Majority, the fastest growing USA voting bloc: The 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year.)

    i.e. said Immoral Majority now rules the land and will do so in the foreseeable future. Popular vote in 2008

    69,456,897 for BO, 59,934,814 for JM

    February 23, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      So you agree Reality, that satan is great at lying and stroking one's ego (aka PRIDE)!

      February 24, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Nonimus

      Sorry, but aren't Catholics one of the most anti-abortion/pro-life groups around?

      February 24, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Reality

      I doubt the Catholic Supreme Court Justices are Respect for Life Catholics and it makes no difference anyway with the Immoral Majority now controlling the vote.

      February 24, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Wait... Immoral? based on what?

      February 24, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  14. Justina

    The middle-class Christian Americans should revolt against the super-rich and the controlling filthy liberals and create an independent Christian nation.

    February 23, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Topkitty

      You mean like the Taliban did in Afghanistan? The word Christian no longer means a worshiper of Christ. Jesus is ashamed of today's Christian I'm sure. The word Christian now means greedy, arrogant, narrow minded, and oppressive. Just like the KKK, the Tea Party wraps itself in today's pseudo-Christianity.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Shame on you. This nation was created by people who risked their personal fortunes and their very lives to create a nation where religion was separate from government. How dare you spit on the work of our wise founders and our const-itution? You disgust me.

      (this may be a double post due to the "moderators")

      February 24, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "The middle-class Christian Americans should revolt against the super-rich and the controlling filthy liberals and create an independent Christian nation."

      Sometimes, you really scare me... I don't think we should date anymore. Please stop calling.


      February 24, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • james

      @Justina what, are you bored and just typing crazy stuff?

      February 24, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Off you go then! You and your friends can have Utah, since its all ready overrun with Joe Smith's wacky christians.

      February 24, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Go ahead... You just can't use any part of the US because that would be unconsti.tutional. But feel free to go somewhere else and have at it.

      February 24, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      That is my ultimate dream!!!! Please, please, please all ultra-conservative Christians, throw of the mantle of oppression (U.S. Consti.tution ) and go create your own bible based nation and leave us the he.ll alone!

      February 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • gerald


      Guess your not in to America being a melting pot of ideas. You don't sound very American to me Mark.

      February 24, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Nonimus

      A "Christian Nation" sounds more melting pot-like to you?

      February 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • gerald

      I'm not the one requesting anyone should leave. Where have I said I don't want nonChristians in the US????

      February 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Nonimus

      My comment, and MarkinFL's I think, were in response to Justina's call for turning the US into a 'Christian Nation' which would be incompatible with the US Const.itution. So, I would think "being into American" anything would start with not violating its Const.itution. Also, my point was not to request anyone to leave, but to suggest that they are free to leave if what they want cannot be done here due to it being incompatible with our highest law.

      February 24, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  15. Topkitty

    Republican = Tea Party = Christian Conservatives = KKK

    February 23, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • glenn robert

      NO, leave out the KKK the rest are nutty enough!

      February 24, 2011 at 2:42 am |
    • gerald

      Democrat = atheist = communist = killers of millions of Christians. If I wanted to be silly like you.

      February 24, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • ASquirrel

      Atheists don't kill Christians, Gerald. They do that to themselves.

      February 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  16. Kevin

    Tell us something we didn't know. Tea Party is just a euphamism for Republican.

    February 23, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You only hear about the Republicans when the other party is in office.

      February 23, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
  17. David Johnson

    From the article: "White evangelical Protestants are roughly five times more likely to agree with the Tea Party movement than to disagree with it, Pew found."

    Well yeah! Who better than Evangelicals to belong to loony tea baggers?


    February 23, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Eric G.

      Well said my friend.....

      "Tea baggers" .......... still makes me chuckle.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • Justina

      David, they are the real, rightful owners of America.

      February 24, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "David, they are the real, rightful owners of America."

      Not the America I know and love.

      I'm hoping the poor and middle class snap out of their apathy.

      The Republicans are owned by the rich and the Christian Right.

      The union worker's and women's rights are being attacked. There is talk of changing the 14th amendment. The Roe v. Wade decision rests on the due process clause of this amendment.

      Ent_itlements are to be slashed. Help for the poor nonexistent.

      The Republicans have chosen guns over butter. The rich grow richer. What would Jesus do?

      Has anyone read "A Tale of Two Cities"? The rich are telling us to "eat cake"!

      We must subst_itute the blade of the guillotine, for the ballot box!

      Wise up and rise up my brethen! Get involved. Make your voice heard!

      Obama has disappointed me. I'm not sure that he will not bend to the Republican will. He needs to remember the Democratic Party is the party of the middle class. He needs to support organized labor.

      In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
      And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
      And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
      And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.
      Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller


      February 24, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • james


      Owners of America??? strong feelings one way or another does not have anything to do with ownership. My gripe with tea bag mentality is that Ms. Palin and her lot only seem to consider their own opinion and dismiss all others as inferior or wrong. Your 'rightful owners of America' comment just proved my point. People who are not like-minded with you somehow don't count in your definition of America. Why do you think it's OK to deny ownership of America to other citizens who THINK differently than you?

      February 24, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Tazo

      Actually it's kind of odd. Limited government should lead to more personal liberties not fewer, e.g. libertarians.
      Oh and the name calling reflects more on you maturity level than theirs.

      February 24, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • gerald


      What would Jesus do? I guess have his unwed mother abort him would be your answer. When does the child in the womb get due process? It actually was defended by a conjuring up of a right to privacy. Guess doctors and their patients can do what they want in a Dr. office.

      February 24, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • gerald


      So I take it you think Sarah Parlin's views are inferior and wrong.

      February 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  18. oneStarman

    SURVEY ASIDE – It turns out about 90% of them are SATANISTS – that is if you go by the Writings of Anton LaVey the Mac Daddy of the Satanic. A Satanist believes (just like a Teabag) that one is Totally responsible for and to only ONESELF and that because the same is true of everyone else – you have NO RESPONSIBILITY for the welfare of others – If someone annoys you – warn them – then KILL them.

    February 23, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      oneStarman, Satan's domain is down on earth. He is the original liar, deceiver, manipulator, any and all things evil. He lies to everyone and anyone by any means of deception. He will do whatever it takes get any of God's children to follow him and go against loving our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Of course, satan has a variety of lying techniques. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to comprehend this easy scenario. Satan usually play's God's children through their ego (sin of Pride), as he strokes, strokes and makes them feel sooooooooooooooooooooooooo good about themselves by always keeping his lies coming. Jesus specifically told us to not pay attention to the ways of the world, to read the blueprint He left us (the Bible), stay humble in order to love, comprehend and abide (apply his truth to our lives) follow His truth.

      Remember. Life is God's test to either love and follow Jesus' truth and live our lives via his spiritual teachings while housed in human form and then when we leave this life, we go back to our spiritual bodies and reside with God through eternity. The other option is to love and follow satan's lies. Meaning, blocking off our emotions and buying into his buffing up our egos, our pride, our this and that ...allowing us to live a void carnal life while housed in human form on this earth and then of course because we denied Jesus Christ, diedin our spiritual form as well as we then get to burn with satan due to his lies into the eternal flames all because of refusing to have faith (believe in Jesus' truth).

      God made life humbly simple. People make pridefully difficult.

      Mark 16:16.


      February 23, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • glenn robert

      WOW! Someone actually believes in Satan. As an Agnostic I find that strange. So religious nuts of all kinds!

      February 24, 2011 at 2:39 am |
    • David Johnson


      Maybe you missed the memo: There is no Satan. Satan was invented by men, because they felt "funny" worshipping a god that had just devastated a village of good people via a flood. They didn't want their god to be the one who did evil. So, Beelzebub was born.

      Consider: You believe god is all knowing. Yes?

      You believe god is all powerful. Yes?

      You believe everything written in the bible is true. Yes?

      You believe Satan is at least as intelligent as your average human. Yes?

      You believe Satan can read? Yes?

      Do you think Satan ever read the part, in the King James, where he loses the battle against god?

      Who, more than a fallen angel, would believe/know god was omniscient? Not to mention omnipotent. That would have been a stumbling block to any coup attempt. Right?

      So, rebellion would have been dumb of Satan and his band of angels. God would have said, "You will lose and you will lose your health insurance." End of rebellion, I think.

      These stories are fiction. Do you see that? What ent ity would rebel against an all powerful, all knowing god? You couldn't even sneak up on Him. Sheesh! Use your brain, just a little.

      What's funny, is that you believers bestow upon your god, the attributes of being omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient.

      Never mind that it is impossible for a god to be all those things at the same time.

      But, fundies never stop to think how these attributes affect their fairy tales. They never consider the ramifications resulting from these superlative qualities that they give to their god.

      Fundies do not believe in Christianity because it is true. To them Christianity is true because they believe it.


      February 24, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • Tazo

      Your ficti.tious statistics and puerile name calling aside, not everyone has the luxury of sucking the governmental teat.
      Someone must actually produce something.

      February 24, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  19. Jal

    Wouldn't it be a better assumption to say the tea party is more conservative than liberal? What does religion have to do with fiscal responsibility?

    February 23, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Jal, learning and comprehending Jesus' wisdom, then applying His truth to their life is how a practicing Christian won't be blinded by sin, especially the sin of Greed which has everything to do with fiscal responsibility. Notice I said, practicing Christian which means they actually read the Bible, not just tuck it under their arm pits as they walk into a church. Big, big, huge ... difference.

      I'm a Democrat and I no longer consider anyone who doesn't have a firm foundation in their life stemming from Jesus' TRUTH.

      I can read all the e-mails now ! Truth is, there is a difference when reading, comprehending, abiding in Jesus' truth. Same as scientists, medical field etc. learn and comprehend the basics of the sciences, then advances their knowledge in their respective field. I don't want them in their designated career path if they cheated, never studied, had someone else' take their test, stayed stoned, slept their way up the ladder, knew someone who knew some one, aka it's not what you know but who you know blah, blah ... and that's how they got their sheep skin and their position that affects others.

      No way.


      February 23, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • gerald


      I'm curious, it sounds by your post like you believe reading the Bible is necessary for salvation?

      February 24, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • ASquirrel

      Tea Party support correlates to religious affiliation... You don't say.

      February 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.