More polling from the University of Arkansas provides a deeper peek into the mind of the average TPer. Those who self-identify as Tea Party are farther out there to the right than other Republicans, which doesn't mean the party isn't a natural base for them but does mean that some of their more radical notions are sometimes at conflict even with mainstream Republicans. (Presuming there's such a thing anymore.) From a UA news release summary:
The Blair-Rockefeller Poll found that Tea Party members are predominantly white, middle class, educated, Christian males over the age of 45 and that 37.4 percent of Tea Party members believe that “the Bible is the actual Word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word.” In contrast, 29.7 percent of other respondents, who were not Tea Party members, shared that belief.
Although Tea Party members tend to have a higher income, more education and lower unemployment rates than non-Tea Party members, they are more pessimistic about the future. ...
Maxwell identified race consciousness and divergent views about equality as characteristic of the Tea Party. For example, in a comparison between white Tea Party members and white people who are not part of the Tea Party, Maxwell finds that white Tea Party members are more strongly opposed to federal support of housing, school, job and health care quality for minorities. Additionally, whereas support for “equality of opportunity” — as opposed to “equality of outcome” — remains a political value shared by most Americans, Maxwell wrote, she found that 30.7 percent of white Tea Party members disagree with the concept. Nearly two-thirds of white Tea Party members think “we have gone too far in pushing equal rights in this country.”