Those supporting the Occupy Wall Street Movement are up in arms as 30-year Democratic Campaign Consultant Doug Schoen reported his polling data in the Wall Street Journal on Oct. 18th. Arielle Alter Confino, a senior researcher at Schoen’s firm, polled about 200 OWS members at New York’s Zuccotti Park on Oct. 10th and 11th.
Schoen described his findings as:
“Our research shows clearly that the movement doesn’t represent unemployed America and is not ideologically diverse. Rather, it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence.”
Here is a breakdown of the polling data gathered by Schoen’s research. Tell me if this sounds like the way in which the Occupy Wall Street, as well as those in cities around the country, are promoting themselves:
- (52%) have participated in a political movement before
- (98%) say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals
- (31%) would support violence to advance their agenda
- A vast majority of demonstrators are actually employed, and the proportion of protesters unemployed (15%) is within single digits of the national unemployment rate (9.1%)
- An overwhelming majority of demonstrators supported Barack Obama in 2008
- (51%) disapprove of the president while 44% approve, and only 48% say they will vote to re-elect him in 2012, while at least a quarter won’t vote
- (32%) call themselves Democrats, while roughly the same proportion (33%) say they aren’t represented by any political party
- (65%) say that government has a moral responsibility to guarantee all citizens access to affordable health care, a college education, and a secure retirement—no matter the cost.
- Protesters are divided on whether the bank bailouts were necessary (49%) or unnecessary (51%)
Schoen summarized his polling data with this statement:
What binds a large majority of the protesters together—regardless of age, socioeconomic status or education—is a deep commitment to left-wing policies: opposition to free-market capitalism and support for radical redistribution of wealth, intense regulation of the private sector, and protectionist policies to keep American jobs from going overseas.
On the same day Judd Legum at Think Progress came out with his view on Schoen’s polling data. One point of contention was Question 17 where Schoen described 4% of the polled OWS members believing in “radical redistribution of wealth.”
Schoen did not specify in the WSJ article that 35% of those polled would like to “influence the Democratic Party like the Tea Party did with the GOP.” Though I can understand Legum’s concern for that 35% figure not being included in the WSJ article, I am more alarmed by the other answers of the “Open Ended” Question 17. With the exception of a Flat Tax, all the other answers definitely tilt Left. What is even more intriguing is that two words are completely absent from this open-ended question in what the OWS movement wants to achieve; “Constitution” and “freedom.” Oddly enough even “Not Sure” got a greater mention as an answer than either of those two words.
What does this mean? It could be open to interpretation but what it appears to me is that those two words are neither in OWS’ mindset or even their vernacular. This further illustrates the clear difference in the OWS crowd and the Tea Party.
Legum also highlights Question 16, however he misrepresents Schoen’s data as it is presented in the WSJ article.
Schoen did not specifically and solely say that a “large majority express opposition to free-market capitalism.” Instead, Schoen described the information in a list of ideologies that “binds a large majority of the protesters together—regardless of age, socioeconomic status or education.” The rest of that list is “support for radical redistribution of wealth, intense regulation of the private sector, and protectionist policies to keep American jobs from going overseas.”
First off, the polling data already documented that (32%) admitted to being Democratic, while (33%) say they aren’t represented by any political party. In addition, (65%) said they believe “government has a moral responsibility to guarantee all citizens access to affordable health care, a college education, and a secure retirement—no matter the cost.” In order to defend his argument I can only guess that Legum must believe that these ideologies are something other than “Left-Wing,” because that sure looks like a majority to me.
The article on Think Progress is representative of the radical Left’s frustration in trying to sell the astro-turfed “grassroots” movement as a mass, wide-spectrum People’s movement. In addition to failing to convince many Americans that they share our nation’s goals with some lost souls who are part-time activists & part-time street bums, the quantitative data exposes the facade of just how radical are the views of the OWS groups. Lastly, if you have to call in the “rent-a-thugs” of big labor unions in order to try to give your movement momentum, then you really need to ask yourself, “If you are not motivated enough to leave the park when the owners want to clean it, then why should ANYONE follow you?”