The Hard Core Right

by digby

In case anyone's still thinking that the teabaggers are "independent" middle of the road types who disdain both the right and the left equally,this new Quinnipiac Poll should finally put that to rest.

Ed Kilgore summarizes:

...the Tea Party folk [are] basically, very conservative Republicans determined to pressure the GOP to move to the right or suffer the consequences--in other words, a radicalized GOP base.

The alternative explanation has been that the Tea Partiers represent independent voters who are fed up with government and will join with Republicans to create a stable majority in this "center-right nation" if and only if Republicans stop talking about cultural issues and focus on lower taxes, smaller government and the economy. Nothing in the Quinnipiac poll supports that proposition. On question after question, self-identified Tea Partiers (13% of the total sample) are much closer in their views to self-identified Republicans than to self-identified independents. Most notably, the approval/disapproval rating for the Republican Party is 60/20 among Tea Partiers and 28/42 among indies. Among those voting in 2008, Tea Partiers went for McCain by a margin of 77/15; indies split down the middle (going for McCain 46/42). Tea Partiers have a favorable view of Sarah Palin by a 72/14 margin (significantly higher than among Republicans), while indies have an unfavorable view of her by a 49/34 margin. Tea Partiers self-identify as Republicans or Republican-leaners by a 74/16 margin. These are not the same people by any stretch of the imagination.

The poll doesn't ask enough questions to get at the details of Tea Party ideology, but it also doesn't supply any ammunition to the common perception that Tea Partiers are libertarians at heart, and/or that they are displacing the Christian Right within the conservative coalition. Actually, 21% of self-identified white "born-again" evangelicals consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement, well above the 13% figure for all voters. And the the two categories of voters share a rare positive attachment to Sarah Palin (white "born-agains" approve of her by a 55/29 margin, Tea Partiers by a 72/14 margin).

At some point, the more questionable assumptions that pundits are making about the Tea Folk--they are right-trending independents, they are hostile to the Christian Right--need to yield to empirical evidence. Now would be a good time to start.

Considering the media just figured out that some of the opposition to the bill over the past few months was from liberals who wanted a public option or single payer, I'm not holding my breath on that.

But it really doesn't take a poll to see that these tea partiers are ill-informed, Beck watching right wingers. All you have to do is read their signs and listen to what they say. They are the hardcore GOP base. And they are very, very sore losers. It's one of their defining characteristics.