The Republican Party is split between those who support the tea party and those that don’t. The two-and-a-half-year-old movement also differs from other GOP supporters on such issues as the deficit, global warming, evolution, abortion, gay marriage, and Social Security, a new CNN/ORC International Poll shows.
"Demographically, the tea party movement seems to hearken back to the 'angry white men' who were credited with the GOP's upset victory in the 1994 midterm elections," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Ideologically, it effectively boils down to the century-old contest between the conservative and moderate wings of the party."
Some 49 percent of Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP support the tea party or are members, while 51 percent say they either have no feelings toward the movement or oppose it. Tea party Republicans are generally white, male, older, and college educated. In contrast, non-tea partyers are likely to be white, younger, less educated, female, and less likely to say they are born again or evangelical.
"One of the biggest differences is on the relative importance of jobs versus the federal deficit. Most tea party Republicans say that Congress and President Barack Obama should pay more attention to the deficit," says Holland. "Most non-tea party Republicans say that reducing unemployment is more important than reducing the deficit."
Science and social issues also separate the tea party from other Republicans. Majorities of tea party supporters don’t believe global warming is proven and believe that evolution is wrong. They are also more strongly oppose abortion and gay marriage than other Republicans. They also are more likely to believe Social Security should be replaced.
The poll surveyed 446 Republicans and GOP-leaning independents September 9-11.
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