Study Finds Tea Party Rallies Added 5 Million Republican Votes


Before the GOP establishment runs too far to the left on its evolutionary jog away from its base, it might want to take a look at this AEI study about the impact of the Tea Party on the midterm elections and what could have been if the Republican Party had run a populist 2012 campaign instead of working overtime to be centrist.

The researchers conclude that having a Tea Party protest on Tax Day, April 15, in 2009 increased the number of Republican votes in that area for the 2010 midterm elections and caused their representatives to vote more conservatively.

In fact, they estimate that the protests led to an additional:

25,000 to 46,000 local Tea Party organizers
170,000 to 310,000 protesters on Tax Day 2010
$840,000 to $1.54 million in donations to Our Country Deserves Better PAC
3.2 to 5.8 million votes in the 2010 House elections

The rallies also:

Increased the likelihood that incumbent Democratic representatives decided to retire prior to the elections
Caused Congressmen to vote more conservatively in Congress
Effects were driven by a persistent increase in the movement’s strength
Led to more grassroots organizing, to larger subsequent protests and monetary contributions, and to stronger conservative beliefs
Had significant multiplier effects: for every protester, Republican votes increased by seven to fourteen votes.

That, my friends, is a pretty stunning impact. This bit is worth quoting in full:

Our results suggest that political activism does not derive its usefulness solely from the provision of information or its consumption value, but that the interactions produced at rallies and protests can affect citizens’ social contexts in ways such that a movement for political change persists autonomously. This confirms the importance of social dynamics in networks of citizens for the realization of political change, and seems of relevance not only in the context of representative democracies, but also at the onset of revolutionary movements.

I had similar experiences in my older days of political activism where I found that even a rally that has seemingly little impact, helps consolidate the base while confronting the establishment. And the entire organizational phase of political activity prepares activists for making a bigger impact elsewhere.

The left has always known this and the right is only slowly catching up. Obama did not come out of nowhere. Neither did his campaigns. And building a viable opposition to them requires a populist movement that can mobilize people out in the streets.

  • Ar'nun

    This just proves my point. The future of Conservatives does not lie in the party of Michael Steele and Reince Prebus and George Will. Let the Republicans shift left and let's keep adding 5 million Conservtives with out the establishment.

  • Bruce

    If the tea party wasn't good for conservatism, liberals wouldn't be attacking it.

    • Ar'nun

      And if Republicans wanted to be Conservative they wouldn't be attacking it either.

  • cynthia curran

    My thing is the Tea Party still goes with Rand Paul who is terrible on immirgaiton. The guy is against e-verify. The Tea Party needs to not support every libertarian or Republican like Grover Norquist. Paul is most likely not so great on defense not as bad as his father. Also, the Tea Party likes Red states and hate Blue states. In many Blue states there is a rural area for example ,Kern County Ca is to the right of Harris County Texas but the Tea Party used the Kalifornia hated. Instead they should help Kern County, Orange, San Diego, or Riverside against the large liberal populations in the Bay Area or LA.

    • Cat K

      I agree with your initial points. But, really the "Tea Party" does not hate certain areas. As a resident of one of the bluest areas in the country, there are enthusiastic Tea Parties here and there was no hate. Did it help in elections? Somewhat. But it's a tough area. The Paul-ites in this area do not define the Tea Party folks. the latter are a cross section of well informed voters.
      I do agree that Rand Paul (who co-opted the name "Tea Party" in Kentucky) is not someone I could ever support and I try to educate others about him. And Norquist's involvement in CPAC is just shameful. I don't understand why he remains in the loop. Is it just money?

      • efesoman

        Cat lets take a wait and see attitude when the 2014 elections are held. I agree with your initial points. But, really the "Tea Party" does not hate certain areas, but your comments on Rand are off base . Lets see would are will run as the Republican nominee in 2016. You just might be surprised.

  • cynthia curran

    The Tea Party in California should pushed for the development of the Montereray Oil Shale. its hard because of the liberal politicans mainly in the Bay Area or La but Kern would be less of an agricultural county. Kevin MCCarthey would then support e-verify since farmers would sell their land to oil interest and hence less need or either illegal immirgants or guestworkers. A win-win soluation for the Central Valley areas like Kern, Frenso, and so forth.

    • Tell the Truth

      Since you are taking up so much space in pontificating your solutions, try spell-check to make yourself sound more intelligent.

  • cynthia curran

    San Diego Patriots, this proves that Victor Hansen is wrong San Diego even if its moved in the last electrical to the left still has some conservatives.

  • cynthia curran

    San Diego Tea Party blog has info on why you should oppose illegal immirgation even as guestworkers.

  • cynthia curran

    Another problem is some of the Tea party is pushing that you have to be a christian this isn't good since some non-christians like Mark Levin or Heather Macdonald atheist conservative who is great on the immirgation issue are not Christians. The christian nation thing can go overboard since Jefferson was a deist who supported christan morality. A lot of Asians in places like Orange County were lost by pushing that everyone has to be a christian.

    • RebeccaJean

      Who within the Tea Party is pushing the idea that you have to be a Christian? I am an Indiana Tea Party member. You certainly can't be talking about Patriots for Christ. Although they believe this is a Christian nation, they also believe that one of our inalienable rights is to accept or reject the notion of Christianity. There can be no freedom of religion unless you have the freedom to choose what you believe or don't believe.

  • petretichp

    Down with the GOPe! The ONLY reason I am a registered Republican is b/c of Sarah Palin.

    If she walks, I walk…

    • Arlie

      I agree! Sarah should start a 3rd party or take reins of Constitution Party. All conservative patriots would rally with her! She is the ONLY true champion of the people longing to be free from the "one party system".
      She's the only politician I believe tells the truth from the heart.

  • patron

    I feel a lot of the insolvency problems will be solved not by a top down government approach. That would be nice, but it will never happen with Obama in office. It will have to come from the public getting off the social spending on their own. The left includes activism along with rallies, like signing people up on welfare, something I don't see much on the right. I think it would be a perfect place to start.

    I would like to see something similar, like starting with a pledges not to go on welfare, tax assistance, reclaiming blight, business startups, alternatives to public education. Without relying on federal programs, people will have more freedom to act like human beings instead of one of Obama's bureaucratic drones.

  • aposematic

    The GOP continues to bark up the wrong tree as the Democrats continue to laugh their a$$es off. The GOP elite want to blame everyone/anyone but themselves for the 2012 fiasco election they themselves created. The GOP Powers that Be are so self hating they just hate everyone for being smarter than they pretend to be. Sounds a whole lot like the opposing party elite and their own leader of hate…doesn't it?

  • Reagandays

    Perhaps they will wise up an instead of muzzling the Tea Party speakers at the next primary and presidential conventions they will provide a platform where there is real strength.

  • Reagandays

    Tea Party people like coffee.
    The Tea Party really is a modern day spin-off of the Boston Tea Party of 1773 which eventually led to the American Revolution. You may know that the original Tea Party was a protest against the English tea tax. Most American colonist boycotted English tea by switching to drinking coffee and that is why coffee is highly consumed in the U.S. today. Today Tea Party people want lower taxes and an end to wasteful government spending. That is why we take the Tea Party to Washington DC. A lot of supporters feel the cause supports the U.S. constitution and is traditional American values based. I also believe Cynthia has a valid point. Everyone wants freedom and validation. Everyone can vote.

  • al Hanamay

    I never run out of avenues that clearly coulda beaten Obama,that romney,scrupulously avoided………They were all about showing ..who Obama is and who ..& how deceptive,hypocritcal the leftist movement is………..I have to laugh whenever Obama tells us "we need to overhaul our amnesty so we can import THE BEST & BRIGHTEST……………..We all know it's a codeword for "the least-informed" & most gullible voters…………..Just Michele Malkin's book,culture of Corruption..WRITTEN 4 YRS AGO…coulda been a mighty voice………..Romney avoided all..It was water,water everywhere…but…not a drop to drink

  • Tell the Truth

    With the newly conceived Obama Budget coming in with 1 TRILLION in new taxes, we should all be out there in force with a renewed "TEA PARTY MOVEMENT" for tax day, 2013. Was the man lying outright when he proclaimed "Not one dime in taxes on the middle class" ? I know that in my home state, there are only a few rally points scheduled. Just as the movement took off in 2009, and greatly affected the 2010 mid-term elections, we all need to become visible and verbal to the media right now or we will certainly be wondering, a year from now…why the "Organizing for Action" group of Liberal Obama-matons is driving the "Socialism is good" mantra bus down Main Street, America… The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: THE HOTTEST PLACE IN HELL IS RESERVED FOR THOSE WHO LIVE IN TUMULTUOUS TIMES BUT DO NOTHING"…Get out there if you agree! Write letters to Congress, to the editors, Join a Rally!

  • Ron Libby

    See Ronald Libby’s new Tea Party book, “Purging the Republican Party: Tea Party Campaigns and Elections.” It is published by Lexington Books and will be released November 16, 2013.