(Photo: Tea Party member Ellie Mels at a Tea Party Fair in Charlotte, Michigan July 24, 2010/Rebecca Cook)
Many supporters of the conservative Tea Party movement that has shaken up politics share the same views as the Christian right on social issues like abortion and the role of religion in public life, according to a poll released on Tuesday.
While the loosely organized Tea Party movement has focused largely on shrinking the size of government and other fiscal issues, its backers are more likely to support government restrictions on gay marriage and other social issues, the Public Religion Research Institute found in its American Values Survey.
The survey found significant overlap between the Tea Party, made up mostly of Republicans, and the religious right, which has played a significant political role for decades.
“On nearly all basic demographic characteristics, there are no significant differences between Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement and those who identify with the Christian conservative movement,” the study’s authors wrote.
Nearly half of those who identify with the Tea Party believe that the Bible is the literal word of God, and a similar proportion thinks that public officials do not pay enough attention to religion, the survey found. They are more likely than the population as a whole to view America as a Christian nation.