Has the Tea Party Era Radicalized the Republican Party? Evidence from Text Analysis of the 2008 and 2012 Republican Primary Debates

TitleHas the Tea Party Era Radicalized the Republican Party? Evidence from Text Analysis of the 2008 and 2012 Republican Primary Debates
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsMedzihorsky, Juraj, L. Littvay, and Erin K. Jenne
Journal titlePS: Political Science & Politics
Year2014
Volume47
Issue4
Abstract

Much ink has been spilled to describe the emergence and likely influence of the Tea Party on the American political landscape. Pundits and journalists declared that the emergence of the Tea Party movement pushed the Republican Party to a more extreme ideological position, which is generally anti-Washington. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed the ideological positions taken by candidates in the 2008 and 2012 pre-Iowa caucus Republican presidential-primary debates. To establish the positions, we used the debate transcripts and a text-analytic technique that placed the candidates on a single dimension. Findings show that, overall, the 2012 candidates moved closer to an anti-Washington ideology—associated with the Tea Party movement—and away from the more traditional social conservative Republican ideology, which was more salient in the 2008 debates. Both Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, the two candidates who ran in both elections, shifted significantly in the ideological direction associated with the Tea Party.

Notes

Featured in Washington Post, Money Cage: The tea party’s antiWashington consensus by Erin K. Jenne. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkeycage/wp/2014/10/19/the-tea-par...

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1017/S1049096514001085
Publisher linkhttps://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics/article/has-the-tea-party-era-radicalized-the-republican-party-evidence-from-text-analysis-of-the-2008-and-2012-republican-primary-debates/D0836CD67B027F3D31C7401ACA4F9183
Unit: 
Department of Political Science
Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy and International Relations
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