The survey is drawn from a probability sample of 1006
cases, stratified by state. The Multi-State Survey of Race and Politics
included seven states, six of which were battleground states in 2008.
It includes Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, and
Ohio as the battleground states. For its diversity and its status as an
uncontested state, California was also included for comparative
purposes. The study, conducted by the Center for Survey Research at the
University of Washington, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1
percent and was in the field February 8 - March 15, 2010.
More details about survey
here via Schaller column on 538.com
For content analysis results please click here.
Tea Party Attitudes in Washington State [ May 2010 Results posted here - via The Washington Poll ]
Tea Party views on Equality, Liberty and Obama
[ New Results posted
Is America Now A Post-Racial Society? [ Full Table of Results here ]
Multivariate results for Racial Resentment and Selected Civil Liberties: Racial Profiling, and Government
Many believed that the election of Barack Obama
brought to a close the long, painful, and ugly history of race and
racism in the United States. But as the incident with Henry Louis Gates
last summer, and the more recent outbursts of the Tea Party activists
suggest, racial divisions remain. Which is closer to the truth? A
recent survey directed by University of Washington political scientist
Christopher Parker, finds that America is definitely not beyond race.
For instance, the Tea Party, the grassroots movement committed to
reining in what they perceive as big government, and fiscal
irresponsibility, also appear predisposed to intolerance. Approximately
45% of Whites either strongly or somewhat approve of the movement. Of
those, only 35% believe Blacks to be hardworking, only 45 % believe
Blacks are intelligent, and only 41% think that Blacks are trustworthy.
Perceptions of Latinos aren’t much different. While 54% of White Tea
Party supporters believe Latinos to be hardworking, only 44% think them
intelligent, and even fewer, 42% of Tea Party supporters believe
Latinos to be trustworthy. When it comes to gays and lesbians, White
Tea Party supporters also hold negative attitudes. Only 36% think gay
and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt children, and just 17%
are in favor of same-sex marriage.
Preliminary Analysis of the Data
In what follows, we explore the ways in which support
for the tea party movement affects Americans’ attitudes toward groups
and views on important issues. Towards that end, we begin with how
support for the tea party informs their view of marginalized groups in
American society. Next, we assess how support for the tea party
movement informs citizens’ views on liberty, equality, and perceptions
of the president. To facilitate comparisons across a range of support
for the tea party movement, we divide support for the tea party into
four discrete groups. Respondents were required to answer a question
that asked whether or not they “strongly approved” or “somewhat
disapproved” of the tea party, or whether or not one “somewhat
or “strongly disapproved” the tea party. True believers, for us, were
those who strongly approved the movement (N = 117). True skeptics are
those who strongly disapprove the party (N = 66). Middle of the roaders
are those that either somewhat disapprove or somewhat approve (N =
171). We also include the group who claim to have never heard of the
tea party movement, and so had no opinion the movement (N = 157). The
last two columns include the overall average for whites, and the
difference between strong supporters of the tea party who we call “true
believers” and those who are in the middle, those whose answer included
a “somewhat” of some kind. We believe this a reasonable benchmark
We begin with an assessment of how support for the tea
views of marginalized groups in America. As the results indicate,
supporting the tea party (or refusal to do so) appears to color how
people see blacks, immigrants, and gay rights (table of results: click here). In each case, across the range
of support for the tea party movement, including those who had never
heard of it, the true believers register relatively intolerant views.
Of the nine (9) questions examined, there were only two instances in
which the distance separating true believers from middle-of-the-roaders
fell below 10 percentage points. On whether or not “…blacks have gotten
les than they deserve,” the difference was 9 points, where true
believers were more likely to disagree, and on whether “…you favor…laws
to protect homosexuals against job discrimination,” where 4 points
separated true believers from middle-of-the-roaders. The greatest
differences emerge with questions tapping blacks, like other racial
minorities, should work their way up “without any special favors,” and
whether or not “gay or lesbian couples should be allowed to legally
adopt.” In the first instance, true believers outpace those in the
middle by 21 percentage points. In the second instance, support for gay
rights, the gap separating the middle from true believers is 20 points,
where the middle was more sympathetic. Overall, the average distance
separating respective levels of tea party support, across various
marginalized groups, after rounding, is 17% for blacks, 12% for
immigrants, and 13% for gay rights, respectively.
Rather large differences also emerge upon
consideration of liberty, equality, and perceptions of president
Obama’s character traits. On questions that tap issues of liberty, the
gap between true believers and those in the middle is greatest on the
question of whether or not the “government can detain people as long as
they wish without trial,” where true believers support the proposition
by 25 points over those in the middle. The difference narrows to 8
points when people were asked to consider whether or not people with
political beliefs at variance with the much of the country are entitled
to the same rights as everyone else. Overall, for this set of
questions, the mean difference is 19 points, where “true believers’”
preferences appear to run counter to liberty, at least relative to
those in the middle (table of results: click
Similar results obtain for egalitarianism, where
strong supporters of the movement appear less inclined toward equality.
Consider the proposition where the distance between groups is greatest.
When asked to opine on whether or not “we’d have many fewer problems in
this country” if people more treated more equally, only 31% of true
believers agreed, versus 55% of those in the middle, reflecting a 24
percentage-point difference. The smallest difference, a 17 points,
emerges when respondents were asked whether or not “our society should
do whatever is necessary to ensure equal opportunity in this country,”
where 81% of those in the middle agree, versus 64% of true believers.
Overall, the mean difference is approximately 22 points.
Finally, at least for this round of analysis, we turn
to the way in which support or the tea party informs how people
perceive the president. At its most narrow, 21 points separate true
believers from those who dwell in the middle, where 65% of the latter
see the president as a strong leader versus 44% of the former group.
The gap reaches its widest point on the issue of whether or not the
president is moral: 64% of those in the middle agree that he is moral
versus only 32% of true believers. Overall, the mean difference between
the groups, in the way in which both perceive the president, is
approximately 26 points.
Multivariate Analysis of Racial Resentment and
Selected Civil Liberties Among Whites
Since the public has become aware of the data, several
people have come forward to challenge our initial findings,
specifically, that supporters of the Tea Party appear racially
intolerant. A principal charge, one not without intellectual merit, is
that the observed relationship between support for the Tea Party and
racial resentment is more about the relatively conservative politics of
Tea Partiers than racism. Indeed, conservatives tend to believe in a
small government, one that doesn't do much to help people who, they
believe, should make an effort to do for themselves. This is certainly
a legitimate view; it's one to which many Americans have adhered from
the beginning of the Republic. In short, some of our critics charge
that, instead of the racism we observe associated with support for the
Tea Party, we're merely observing Tea Partiers' conservatism at work.
In other words, support for the Tea Party, they suggest, is simply a
proxy for conservatism.
To address this issue, we turn to regression, a
statistical technique that allows analysts to tease out how one
variable affects another. This is important because it permits us to
account for the presence of other variables that may also affect the
outcome while isolating the impact of the effect of the variable of
interest on the result. So, in this case, if support for the Tea Party
is truly a proxy for conservatism, the relationship between racial
resentment and support for the Tea Party should evaporate once we
control for conservatism. Otherwise, there's something else going on
with support for the Tea Party; it's not just conservatism. To make
things a little easier, we combined all of the items (questions) that
comprise racial resentment, making them into a scale.
As the figure shows, even as
we account for conservatism and partisanship, support for
the Tea Party remains a valid predictor of racial resentment. We're not
saying that ideology isn't important, because it is: as people become
more conservative, it increases by 23 percent the chance that they're
racially resentful. Also, Democrats are 15 percent less likely than
Republicans to be racially resentful. Even so, support for the Tea
Party makes one 25 percent more likely to be racially
resentful than those who don't support the Tea Party.
Similar results obtain for racial
profiling and the ability for authorities to detain people without
putting them on trial. Again, controlling for ideology (conservatism)
and partisanship, support for the Tea Party increases the probability
that individuals agree that it's okay to “racially profile someone on
account of their race or religion” by approximately 27 percent. Support
for the Tea Party also increases the probability, by 28 percent, that
the authorities should have ability to detain
individuals without being charged, for as long as authorities like. Of
course, in both cases, conservatism also matters: increasing the
likelihood that people will agree with racial profiling and indefinite
detention by 30 and 33 percent, respectively.
Tea Party Website Content Analysis
Supporters of the tea party have continuously claimed that their views and opinions reflect those of mainstream America. New results examining the content from over thirty official tea party websites from close to a dozen different states suggests otherwise. Differences in content emerge when comparing the content from official tea party websites to the content from the National Review online, a mainstream conservative commentary.
Please click here for the full content analysis.