Since the 2010 election, we’ve heard from the Establishment (GOP, MSM, DNC) that Tea Partiers are too puritanical.
The elitist theory holds that Tea Partiers demand doctrinaire allegiance to some engraved-granite list of principles. Stray from that list, and the Tea Party will hunt you down like a dog in the street and beat you with a Wiffle Ball bat until you pee blood for a week.
Guess what, though. It’s not the Tea Partiers who defect when their candidates lose.
A recent Rasmussen poll (subscription may be required) found that Establishment Republicans are far more likely to vote Democrat, third party, or not at all if their favored candidate loses a primary.
Interestingly, those outside the Tea Party are more committed to finding a candidate who shares their views--67% of Tea Party members take that approach compared to 75% of non-members. That data contradicts a common story line that Tea Party members are interested in ideological purity while others are more practical in their considerations.
But the divisions get even clearer when the questions get more specific:
Again, those in the Tea Party are more committed to the GOP field than other primary voters. Ninety-one percent (91%) of Tea Party members now plan to vote for the eventual GOP candidate even if their first choice isn’t the nominee, compared to 71% of non-members.
Kidding? Non-Tea Party Republicans could see a 29 percent defection rate if their favorite candidate isn’t nominated? Wow.
The next time someone tells you that the Tea Party is too puritanical, tell them, “Perhaps, but we’re not nearly as puritanical as the establishment Republicans.”