The Size of the Tea Party Electorate in Texas

To say that the Tea Party has exerted an influence on Texas Politics over the last half decade is a major understatement, but what often gets left unexplored is the relative size of the group of Texans who identify with the Tea Party in the face of their outsized presence in the GOP primary process.

Since February 2010, the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll has asked respondents the following question in order to identify Tea Party support:

Suppose the Tea Party movement organized itself as a political party. When thinking
about the next election for Congress, would you vote for the Republican candidate
from your district, the Democratic candidate from your district, or the Tea Party candidate from
your district?

Respondents who indicate that they would vote for a Tea Party candidate over a Republican or Democratic candidate in their Congressional district are classified as Tea Party Republicans. Overall, these Tea Party Republicans have encompassed between 16 and 24 percent of the Texas electorate, with the high (24 percent) measured in October 2011. More recently, we have estimated that just under one-fifth of the Texas electorate can be classified as Tea Party Republicans.

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categoryDemocratRepublicanTea Party
February 201036%21%16%
May 201033%19%23%
September 201033%20%18%
October 201033%18%20%
February 201134%16%22%
May 201133%16%23%
October 201133%20%24%
February 201237%16%22%
May 201234%22%18%
October 201236%16%17%
February 201336%17%20%
June 201338%18%20%
October 201338%22%19%
February 201437%21%21%
June 201438%20%22%
October 201440%23%20%
February 201534%24%18%
June 201534%24%18%
November 201535%22%17%
February 201636%22%12%
June 201633%22%14%
October 201637%20%17%
February 201738%24%15%
June 201739%21%16%

Among Republican identifiers in the state, the Tea Party's biggest surge came between February 2011 and February 2012, when the percentage of Texas Republicans who identified with the Tea Party reached its maximum of 41 percent. More recent estimates suggest that a greater share of Republicans in Texas identify with the Republican Party than identify with the Tea Party when given the choice. Thus, to the direct question, "what share of Texas' Republicans are Tea Party adherents?"  the pattern of fluctuation over the last year (October 2014 to present) suggest a rough estimate of between 30 and 37 percent (with an average of 32.75 percent).

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Month and YearTea PartyRepublican Party
February 201026%41%
May 201033%37%
September 201030%39%
October 201031%36%
February 201137%30%
May 201141%30%
October 201140%36%
February 201240%31%
May 201233%44%
October 201232%34%
February 201338%35%
June 201335%40%
October 201334%43%
February 201436%42%
June 201442%38%
October 201437%43%
February 201533%47%
June 201530%47%
November 201531%44%
February 201623%49%
June 201626%46%
October 201631%41%
February 201727%50%
June 201729%44%