Membership and demographics

Several polls have been conducted on the demographics of the movement. Though the various polls sometimes turn up slightly different results, they tend to show that Tea Party supporters tend more likely than Americans overall to be white, male, married, older than 45, regularly attending religious services, conservative, and to be more wealthy and have more education. Broadly speaking, multiple surveys have found between 10% and 30% of Americans identify as a member of the Tea Party movement. Most Republicans and 20% of Democrats support the movement according to one Washington Post-ABC News poll.

According to The Atlantic, the three main groups that provide guidance and organization for the protests, FreedomWorks, dontGO, and Americans for Prosperity, state that the demonstrations are an organic movement.[158] Law professor and commentator Glenn Reynolds, best known as author of the Instapundit political blog, said in the New York Post that: 'These aren't the usual semiprofessional protesters who attend antiwar and pro-union marches. These are people with real jobs; most have never attended a protest march before. They represent a kind of energy that our politics hasnt seen lately, and an influx of new activists.' Conservative political strategist Tim Phillips, now head of Americans for Prosperity, has remarked that the Republican Party is too disorganized and unsure of itself to pull this off.

The Christian Science Monitor has noted that Tea Party activists 'have been called neo-Klansmen and knuckle-dragging hillbillies', adding that 'demonizing tea party activists tends to energize the Democrats' left-of-center base' and that 'polls suggest that tea party activists are not only more mainstream than many critics suggest,' but that a majority of them are women, not angry white men. The article quoted Juan Williams as saying that the Tea Party's opposition to health reform was based on self-interest rather than racism.
When surveying supporters or participants of the Tea Party movement, polls have shown that they are to a very great extent more likely to be registered Republican, have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party and an unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party. The Bloomberg National Poll of adults 18 and over showed that 40% of Tea Party supporters are 55 or older, compared with 32% of all poll respondents; 79% are white, 61% are men and 44% identify as 'born-again Christians', compared with 75%, 48.5%, and 34% for the general population, respectively..