A new study by the American Enterprise Institute — “Do Political Protests Matter? Evidence From The Tea Party Movement” — finds that the movement boosted Republican turnout by three to six million votes in the 2010 election. This effect was blunted in the 2012 election, though, because growth in the movement stalled.
That slowdown happened, co-author and AEI economist Stan Veuger notes, at the same time that the IRS began coming down hard on these groups. He argues in a RealClearMarkets.com article that this most likely had a major impact in the 2012 election.
“The founders, members, and donors of new Tea Party groups found themselves incapable of exercising their constitutional rights, and the Tea Party’s impact was muted in the 2012 election cycle,” Veuger said.