The Character and Economic Morality of the Tea Party Movement

57 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 5 Sep 2011

Date Written: 2011


In this paper, I employ statistical analyses of Tea Party supporters using national and local surveys and personal interviews with local Tea Party leaders throughout the country, meeting in local diners and coffee shops. I argue that Tea Party supporters are statistically distinct from non-Tea Party Republicans on a myriad of issues, even including their strength of commitment to fiscal conservatism. Tea Party supporters are less loyal Republicans, have less trust in government and are angrier at DC politics. They have a more negative view of the economy despite being disproportionately less impacted by the financial crisis. The Tea Party is also roughly split between Tea Party conservatives and Tea Party libertarian leaners, with a slightly larger share of Tea Party conservatives. Despite similar perceptions of the economy, government and economic issue positions, they are statistically distinct on social and cultural issues. I also discuss a unique economic morality shared by Tea Party supporters based on equilibrating actions and consequences, rewarding success and punishing failure, a Lockean view of liberty, opportunity and upward economic mobility in American Society.

Keywords: Tea Party, Conservatives, Libertarians, Morality, Economics, Government

Suggested Citation

Ekins, Emily E., The Character and Economic Morality of the Tea Party Movement (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

Emily E. Ekins (Contact Author)

Cato Institute ( email )

1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001-5403
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics