A POLITICO/TargetPoint poll conducted at the massive Tax Day protest on the National Mall in April discovered that tea party activists are divided roughly into two camps along a distinct fault line: one that’s libertarian-minded and largely indifferent to hot-button values issues and another that’s culturally conservative and equally concerned about social and fiscal issues.
Libertarians and conservatives could unite behind their shared frustration with Obama’s economic policies or the growing national debt, but they split over gay marriage and abortion. Specifically, 51 percent of tea party activists polled said “government should not promote any particular set of values,” while 46 percent said “government should promote traditional family values in our society.”
Beck and Palin are two of the most prominent spokespeople for the latter. If they make these issues more salient, they could risk dividing the movement.
Not only risk dividing the movement but risk alienating moderate, centrist voters and undermine a chance to reform the Republican Party along constitutionally conservative lines.