The New York Times conducted a survey aimed at learning more about the demographics and political preferences of Tea Party supporters. They found that tea party supporters were wealthier and better educated than the general public. They were also more conservative that other Republicans. I can't resist picking apart their survey.
They shouldn't have compared the Tea Party supporters with the general population. They should have compared Tea Party supporters with other political involved individuals who vote regularly, are highly informed about political affairs, and have participated in a protest or rally. Highly informed and politically active individuals are a small subset of the American public, and they are much better educated and more wealthy than the general public. A minuscule percent of Americans has attended a political rally; it's sometime like 5%. If someone knows what the tea party movement is, even if they haven't even gone to one of their rallies, they represent a small, elite fraction of the American public.
The New York Times failed to compare Tea Party supporters with other politically involved Americans. So, their findings about the comparative wealth and education of the Tea Party supporters are meaningless.