In America, it takes a lot to be more disliked than a Muslim, or even, God forbid, an atheist. From the NYT:
[I]n data we have recently collected, the Tea Party ranks lower than any of the 23 other groups we asked about — lower than both Republicans and Democrats. It is even less popular than much maligned groups like “atheists” and “Muslims.” Interestingly, one group that approaches it in unpopularity is the Christian Right.
And here’s a surprise – the Tea Party is actually conservative Republicans.
Our analysis casts doubt on the Tea Party’s “origin story.” Early on, Tea Partiers were often described as nonpartisan political neophytes. Actually, the Tea Party’s supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born, and were more likely than others to have contacted government officials. In fact, past Republican affiliation is the single strongest predictor of Tea Party support today.
And the other factor that defines Teabaggers is the desire to see religion (their religion) play a prominent role in the politics.
Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics.
Interestingly, and surprisingly I’d argue, the public has swung against mixing religion with politics.
While over the last five years Americans have become slightly more conservative economically, they have swung even further in opposition to mingling religion and politics. It thus makes sense that the Tea Party ranks alongside the Christian Right in unpopularity.
This is quite interesting. We’d need more details as to what’s motivating people to be less interested in religion in the public square, but it might provide a nice line of attack for Democrats, if they have the courage to take on religion, even batty religions like Bachmann’s and Perry’s. More on Perry’s fringe religious beliefs here.