Tea Party Split Between Sarah Palin, Ron Paul

Libertarians like Paul, conservatives like Palin

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 19, 2010 8:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – Much as there are two Americas, there are two Tea Parties; one that's libertarian, and one that's socially conservative. Politico ran an exit poll on Thursday's massive tax day protest on the Washington Mall and found that about 43% said that the government needed to promote traditional values. Their favorite Tea Party leader was, naturally, Sarah Palin. A virtually identical 42% said the government shouldn't promote any particular value set. Their favorite politician: Ron Paul.

Overall, the activists were less culturally conservative than mainstream Republicans—asked to rank issues they were angry about, same-sex marriage came in dead last, with 24% saying it didn't bother them at all. Not that the protesters necessarily wanted to be counted as Republicans. Though three quarters believe President Obama is “pursuing a socialist agenda,” roughly the same percentage said they “want to send a message to both political parties.”

In this April 15, 2010 file photo, the Capitol is seen in the background, as Tea Party demonstrators gather at Freedom Plaza in Washington.
In this April 15, 2010 file photo, the Capitol is seen in the background, as Tea Party demonstrators gather at Freedom Plaza in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Harriet Ricchini, from Medford N.J., cheers during a Tea Party rally held at Independence Mall in Philadelphia on Saturday, April 17, 2010.
Harriet Ricchini, from Medford N.J., cheers during a Tea Party rally held at Independence Mall in Philadelphia on Saturday, April 17, 2010.   (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)
People listen to speeches at a Tea Party rally held at Independence Mall in Philadelphia on Saturday, April 17, 2010.
People listen to speeches at a Tea Party rally held at Independence Mall in Philadelphia on Saturday, April 17, 2010.   (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)
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