In New York, at least, and possibly everywhere.
Yesterday Quinnipiac University published the results of a poll of New York City residents on their opinions about Occupy Wall Street. A large majority—67%—said they agreed with the group’s ire over economic unfairness and had a favorable opinion of the movement. An overwhelming majority—87%—believed that the protesters have a right to camp out in Zuccotti Park to continue the occupation as long as they aren’t breaking any laws.
Of course, city residents are more likely to be familiar with the movement than the rest of the country, with occupiers popping up across Manhattan from Wall Street to Washington Square Park to Times Square. However a new national poll by USA Today/ Gallup released yesterday showed that while 63% of Americans said they didn’t know enough about the movement to have an opinion, 22% approved compared to 15% disapproving. The favorable rating outnumbers the unfavorable rating by 46% among those who have heard of the movement.
With these approval stats Occupy Wall Street is faring much better in the public eye than the president and both Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Recent polls from mid September—around the time Occupy Wall Street began—showed the president with an approval rating around 40%, Congressional Democrats at 28%, and Congressional Republicans at 19%. Approval for Congress overall hit an all-time low of just 12%.
While the poll of New York City residents on Occupy Wall Street split along party lines with more Democrats supporting the movement than Republicans, 35% of Republicans supported the movement—much better than the national approval rating for Congressional Republicans.
Perhaps Rep. Eric Cantor should have waited for some polling data before calling the protesters anarchist “mobs” hell-bent on ruining America. According to the USA Today/ Gallup poll released yesterday, 87% say Washington deserves “a great deal” of blame for the poor economy while only 78% say the same about Wall Street. It seems that a majority of Americans think it’s DC politicians and an out-of-control financial sector who are hell bent on ruining America.
As the Occupy Wall Street movement spreads, it’s now effectively seen more favorably than any political party. If this helps bend the political climate in this country, then Occupy Wall Street will have been a resounding success.