The New York Times refers to their own survey and tells us that:
Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.
They hold more conservative views on a range of issues than Republicans generally. They are also more likely to describe themselves as "very conservative" and President Obama as "very liberal."
And while most Republicans say they are "dissatisfied" with Washington, Tea Party supporters are more likely to classify themselves as "angry."
Amanda writes about that education finding. I'd like to add that the survey quoted here compares the findings to the general public, not to voters or to Democratic or Republican voters.
I don't think the education variable tells us much anything, to be honest, because education and income are so highly correlated that when you look at education as a variable and try to understand the findings you may really be looking at findings about income.
That would make more sense: If the tea partiers are people who believe that their taxes will go up with the health care reform, for example, they could be against it on purely those grounds.
In general, that short list of characteristics does sound to me like the guys who believe that they should be in power and feel threatened because they might not be. Plus this:
The overwhelming majority of supporters say Mr. Obama does not share the values most Americans live by and that he does not understand the problems of people like themselves. More than half say the policies of the administration favor the poor, and 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites — compared with 11 percent of the general public.
They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people.
A public health warning: I haven't looked at the questions in the survey itself.