Explaining the Tea Party's Success in 2010

Open Access
Kern, Michael Stephen
Area of Honors:
Political Science
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Suzanna Linn, Thesis Supervisor
  • Michael Barth Berkman, Honors Advisor
  • Tea Party
  • 2010
  • Spending
  • Primaries
This thesis analyzes why the Tea Party was successful in the 2010 election cycle, specifically focusing on the role spending played. Looking at Republican primaries in which Tea Party candidates were involved, I found that primary spending in raw dollars was not as important relative to the share of the money spent in the primary. Furthermore, my results show that candidates who received endorsements from the Tea Party Express and Sarah Palin were the candidate who received the money. The endorsements acted as a signal to voters that these candidates shared the endorser’s values and ideals. Thus, these endorsements acted as a signal that these were quality candidates to vote for, and increased their likelihood of success at the ballots.