Study: Tea Partiers Outworked Democrats In Debt Fight

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August 2, 2011 1:49 p.m.

Remember that enthusiasm gap from the 2010 election that was oh-so-deadly for Democrats? It looks like it hung around for the debt ceiling fight as well.

A telephone poll by the Pew Research Center for People and Press found that Republicans and Tea Party-affiliated respondents both paid more attention to the debt negotiations and were more likely to take action to influence the outcome.Some 66% of the two groups followed news on the issue closely versus only 34% of those who had different views or did not offer a political opinion. Nor were they passive observers: some 20% of Republicans and Tea Partiers contacted an elected official during the standoff while only 5% of the rest did the same. This despite a direct appeal from President Obama to do exactly that.

As was the case in the midterm election, age was a crucial factor. Only 19% of 18-29 year-olds followed the story closely and 1% contacted an official versus 54% of those over 50 who followed the debate and 16% who contacted an official.

The numbers suggest that Democrats still have a ways to go before they fully reactivate the base voters that powered them into the White House in 2008.

Ed. Note – This article was corrected on August 6, 2011, to amend an incorrect figure. The article previously stated that 66% of Republicans or Tea Partiers surveyed claimed to have contacted an elected official. The correct number is 20%.

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