Profile of a Tea Partier

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll paints a surprising portrait of Tea Party supporters. Though Tea Partiers, now 18 percent of Americans, are more likely to classify themselves as “angry,” they think their taxes are fair, and are in favor of Medicare and Social Security. And while Sarah Palin has become the poster child for the movement, most followers don’t think she’s qualified to be president. Rather than being angered by personal financial hardships, Tea Partiers are more likely than the general public to categorize their financial situation as good or very good. So why are Tea Partiers so riled up? The party’s animosity is the result of a perceived disproportionate amount of help for the poor and blacks. Their three principal points of contention are health-care reform, government spending, and the notion that they are not being heard in the capital. “The only way they will stop the spending is to have a revolt on their hands,” said one Tea Partier.