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Tea Party Cultural Characteristics Defined

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Aug. 24 (UPI) — Voters sympathetic to the Tea Party movement reflect four primary cultural and political beliefs to a greater degree than others do, U.S. researchers suggest.

Lead author Andrew J. Perrin, an associate professor of sociology in the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s College of Arts and Sciences, and colleagues say the findings are based on two telephone surveys of registered voters in North Carolina and Tennessee conducted May 30 to June 3, 2010, and Sept. 29 to Oct. 3, 2010, and a set of interviews and observations at a Tea Party movement rally in Washington.

Forty-six percent of poll respondents said they felt favorably toward the Tea Party movement.

The researchers found respondents who felt positively toward the Tea Party movement held the following primary cultural and political dispositions more often than other voters:

– Authoritarianism. Respondents say they believe that obedience by children is more important than creativity, and that deference to authority is an important value.

– Libertarianism. Respondents say they believe there should not be regulations or limitations on expressions such as clothing, television shows and musical lyrics.

– Fear of change/ontological insecurity. Respondents say they sense things are changing too fast or too much.

– Nativism. Respondents say they hold negative attitudes toward immigrants and immigration.

“The findings show that the Tea Party movement can best be understood as a new cultural expression of late 20th century conservatism,” Perrin says in a statement.

The findings were presented at the 106th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

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