While it's not uncommon to hear the terms "Tea Party" and "libertarian" uttered in the same descriptor, a new survey shows the gap between the two movements. According to the new American Values Survey, an annual release from the Public Religion Research Institute, a full 61 percent of libertarians do not consider themselves part of the Tea Party.
“While conventional wisdom has assumed that the Tea Party movement is fueled by libertarian convictions, most libertarians see themselves as outside of the Tea Party movement. Notably, libertarians are also half as likely as those who identify with the Tea Party movement to see themselves as part of the older Christian right movement," said Dr. Robert P. Jones, CEO of PRRI, in a news release.
In fact, only one in five libertarians claim affiliation with the religious right or conservative Christianity — a claim that more than half of Tea Party adherents would make.
So what are defining religious characteristics of the libertarian movement? They are disproportionately either white mainline Protestants (27 percent) or part of the growing movement of religiously unaffiliated, or "the nones" (27 percent).
“While libertarians are aligned with other key conservative constituencies on economic issues, they are at odds with other conservative groups on a range of social issues,” Daniel Cox, PRRI’s research director, said in the release.
Those issues include abortion (57 percent say it should not be made more difficult for women to attain them), euthanasia (70 percent favor), and legalizing marijuana (71 percent favor).
Stay tuned to Sojourners this week for additional reporting on the latest American Values Survey.