Thesis

Holding elected officials accountable: an examination of the voting patterns of the Tea Party

Knowledge of politicians not just as candidates, but also as legislators, can help inform an electorate when tasked with choosing a representative in government. Regarding the Tea Party specifically, past research has focused on its formation and the composition of its supporters. The focus of this research is to examine the composition of elected Tea Party representatives as legislators. This study tracked longitudinal voting habits that compared Tea Party legislators against Establishment Republicans legislators using the baseline of a national Tea Party organization’s preferred vote position. In addition, an analysis of the effect of the Tea Party on Establishment Republicans was conducted.
 The study utilized both quantitative and qualitative data to analyze the voting patterns of the House of Representatives and the Senate from 2005 to 2014. In total, 105,703 individual legislator votes were tallied and analyzed along with a close examination of specific votes surrounding the 2013 government shutdown to determine any possible distinctions between Tea Party and Establishment Republican congressional legislators. The findings discovered there were no statistically significant differences between the Tea Party and Establishment Republican voting patterns in the House of Representatives; however, the voting patterns of Tea Party Senators were statistically significantly different than Establishment Republicans. This research provides evidence to support the notion that the organizational culture of the Republican establishment has been challenged by the existence of the Tea Party, though Republican attempts to absorb this challenge have been largely, though not always, successful.

Thesis (M.A., Sociology)--California State University, Sacramento, 2016.

Knowledge of politicians not just as candidates, but also as legislators, can help inform an electorate when tasked with choosing a representative in government. Regarding the Tea Party specifically, past research has focused on its formation and the composition of its supporters. The focus of this research is to examine the composition of elected Tea Party representatives as legislators. This study tracked longitudinal voting habits that compared Tea Party legislators against Establishment Republicans legislators using the baseline of a national Tea Party organization’s preferred vote position. In addition, an analysis of the effect of the Tea Party on Establishment Republicans was conducted. The study utilized both quantitative and qualitative data to analyze the voting patterns of the House of Representatives and the Senate from 2005 to 2014. In total, 105,703 individual legislator votes were tallied and analyzed along with a close examination of specific votes surrounding the 2013 government shutdown to determine any possible distinctions between Tea Party and Establishment Republican congressional legislators. The findings discovered there were no statistically significant differences between the Tea Party and Establishment Republican voting patterns in the House of Representatives; however, the voting patterns of Tea Party Senators were statistically significantly different than Establishment Republicans. This research provides evidence to support the notion that the organizational culture of the Republican establishment has been challenged by the existence of the Tea Party, though Republican attempts to absorb this challenge have been largely, though not always, successful.

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