I often thought that that the Tea Parties and the Perot supporters were the pretty much the same people. However, FiveThrityEight.com has broken down the differences with Ron Rapport. Here is Rapport’s comparison:
- The Perot movement is inherently different. It was formed around a candidate during a presidential election campaign. This explains the support by Perot supporters for a third party which tea partiers at present lack. The major difference is that Perot movement was a total rejection of both parties, while the tea party movement is a total rejection of only one party–the Democrats.
- Whereas only 5% of tea party supporters said that they usually or always voted Democratic, fully one-thrid of Perot supporters had voted for Walter Mondale in 1984 and slightly more had voted for Michael Dukakis in 1988.
- In the New York Times survey, 54% of tea partiers rated the Republican Party favorably. Only 17% of Perot callers rated either party as “above average” or “outstanding” and 43% rated both parties as “below average,” or “poor” with 8% rating the Republicans as “above average” or “outstanding,” and 9% rating the Democrats as “outstanding” or “above average.” Sixty-nine percent rated the Republicans as “below average” or “poor,” with 64% saying the same about Democrats.
- The level of favorability among tea partiers for George W. Bush is extraordinarily high—far more than in the population as a whole. Fifty-seven percent of tea party supporters rate Bush favorably, and only 27% rate him unfavorably (for the sample as a whole the corresponding percentages are reversed 27% favorable, 58% unfavorable. On the other hand Perot supporters rated both Geroge H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton unfavorably, Bush moreso than Clinton.
- Perot callers were slightly right of center on the liberal-conservative scale, but on specific issues they were were not consistently conservative. They strongly favored abortion rights, national health insurance, and government controls on pollution, while strongly opposing affirmative action, gun control and the revocation of the death penalty.
- But there were a set of issues important to Perot supporters on which they were more extreme than either Democrats or Republicans–economic nationalism, reform, and the budget. On these issues they saw the major parties as indistinguishable and largely indifferent. They staked out positions very different from where they perceived the major parties to stand.
- In terms of demographics, Perot supporters were unobservant religiously. Only 38% attended services every week and 16% never attended services-both very different from the American public. And while 33% did not identify as either Protestant, Catholic or Jewish among Perot callers, such was the case for only 15% of tea party supporters. On the other hand the tea party movement and the Perot supporters were both about 60% male and over 90% white.