The Occupy Wall Street movement, which spread all over the country, has been hard to define. But in essence the 99%ers want to see more economic equality and opportunity, with the 1%ers contributing more. They also want to see more accountability for those responsible in deceptive and fraudulent acts. Yet he message is not always so clear-cut. So what do Americans feel about the protests that have been taking place?
A poll from ORC International taken Oct. 28-31 36% agreed with the overall positions of Occupy Wall Street, while 19% say they disagree. That reflects an increase in support since early October, when 27% of those polled said they agreed with Occupy Wall Street’s position. But a newer national survey from Public Policy Polling found public opinion turning fairly fast on the Occupy Wall Street movement, with only 33% support to 45% opposed.
When looking at the issues that the Occupy Wall Street protesters stand for, the Public Religion Research Institute in November published data from a survey they took in September, stating that overall a slim majority of Americans (53%) believe that “one of the big problems in this country is that we don’t give everyone an equal chance in life.” A larger majority of Democrats (70%) believe this is a big problem, while just over one-third of Republicans (38%) feel the same way. Independents (a growing block in the electorate) are divided. Half (50%) say not giving everyone an equal chance in life is a big problem, while 43% say it isn’t.
According to this survey, a larger majority (60%) of Americans say: “Society would be better off if the distribution of wealth was more equal.” Affluent Americans obviously were less likely than poor Americans to agree. And, older Americans are less likely than younger Americans to agree. There are also big differences by party affiliation. Over three quarters (78%) of Democrats believe that economic inequality is a problem, compared with about one-third (35%) of Republicans.