Friday, July 02, 2010

Tea Partiers are not Perot-istas

Despite what Ben Domenech, Ed Gillespie, or anyone else says, the Tea Party is not H. Ross Perot: The Sequel.

It's a tempting thought, but an incorrect one, as WaPo's Dan Balz explored back in April.

Balz cites a lot of figures, but really the argument can really be boiled down to ideology, and it's an open-and-shut case on that front.  I went back to the ANES-1992 study* and compared the ideological distribution of the voting population with the Perotistas, and found that they were startlingly similar. 

(* - I selected only those respondents who had voted in the 1992 Presidential election, and weighted the Presidential vote variable to reflect the actual result.)

Ideology Perot Voters All Voters
Extremely
Liberal
1.45 1.88
Liberal 7.25 9.81
Slightly
Liberal
15.94 13.42
Moderate 34.78 34.59
Slightly
Conservative
25.36 22.2
Conservative 14.49 15.53
Extremely
Conservative
0.72 2.58



This produces two almost identical charts:

Unsurprisingly given this ideological distribution, Perot voters were about as likely to identify as Republicans as Democrats.

Compare this to ideological figures from the Winston Group's February survey:
Ideology RV's
(Feb 2010)
Tea
Partiers (Feb 2010)
Liberal 20 10
Moderate 45 26
Conservative 33 63


...and Party ID...

Party
ID
RV's
(Feb 2010)
Tea
Partiers (Feb 2010)
Democrat 38 14
Independent 27 24
Republican 33 59

I could spend considerable time criticizing the one-dimensional ideological model and why it's insufficient to describe the Tea Party movement, but it's good enough to show that these are very different movements.  The comparisons between the Perot movement and the Tea Party movement certainly bear further examination, but to say that Tea Partiers are the descendants of the Perotistas is simply incorrect.

1 comment:

TheBitterAmerican said...

Perot was a media construct, nothing more. The Tea Partiers are true grassroots agitators against a gov't gone wrong.