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Tea Time in America? The Impact of the Tea Party Movement on the 2010 Midterm Elections

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 April 2011

Christopher F. Karpowitz
Brigham Young University
J. Quin Monson
Brigham Young University
Kelly D. Patterson
Brigham Young University
Jeremy C. Pope
Brigham Young University


By winning the presidency and strengthening its majority in both chambers of Congress, the 2008 election gave control of the government to the Democratic Party. However, as the 2010 election season unfolded, the news for the Democratic Party could not have been much worse. Economic conditions had not improved dramatically. A bitter and lengthy fight over health care reform signaled to citizens that little had changed in how Washington, DC, governed. The stimulus package and its impact on the federal debt caused unease in a segment of the electorate that was concerned with the size of government. In this context, observers of American politics began to take note of the number of citizens affiliating with, or at least expressing favorability toward, a loose coalition of groups known as the Tea Party movement. Tea Party rallies began to occur throughout the United States, seeking to draw attention to the movement's primary issues.

Copyright © American Political Science Association 2011

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