The new poll from Associated Press/GfK shows that 37% of respondents back the protests on Wall Street and elsewhere, which is one of the first tests of public approval for the movement. The majority of the supporters are Democrats, but according to The Huffington Post, the anger and discontent with the same issues are widespread. The poll shows that, among supporters of the OWS movement, 64% identify Democrat, 22% identify Independent, and only 14% identify Republican.
The OWS movement, in many ways a similar popular uprising to the Tea Party rallies of 2009, maintains some significant differences. Chief among those is that Occupy Wall Street supporters criticize the government, but believe that Wall Street and the private sector has been allowed to run amok, while Tea Party supporters blame the government entirely and believe that free market capitalism will be the saving grace for the country.
Either way, both movements and much of the rampant public discontent is a result of the slow economic recovery and high unemployment. Of the respondents, 58% say that they are “furious” about the present politics in Washington, with many disappointed in lawmakers for the brinksmanship and political posturing over basic federal functions like passing budgets.
A new counter-movement to the OWS, calling themselves the “53%”, or the 53% of Americans that pay taxes, have been mocking the OWS as “lazy-asses” and “liberal nuts” looking government handouts. The insinuation here is that OWS protestors are welfare recipients and non-taxpayers, angry at Wall Street because they’re not, as Herman Cain put it, “employed or rich.”
This has been, by far, one of the most pervasive and damaging misconceptions by opponents of Occupy Wall Street. OWS has been, for the most part, a demonstration of collective disappointment by people, both employed and unemployed, with advanced degrees and long work histories, yes even taxpayers, that are disgusted with the manipulation of our Democratic process by big business. It’s not a secret, it’s not revolutionary, but it’s high time it changed.