Wednesday, November 16, 2011

PPP Poll: Occupy Wall Street Protesters Support Fading 33/45% Below Tea Party

The Occupy Wall Street movement is not wearing well with voters across the country. Only 33% now say that they are supportive of its goals, compared to 45% who say they oppose them. That represents an 11 point shift in the wrong direction for the movement's support compared to a month ago when 35% of voters said they supported it and 36% were opposed. Most notably independents have gone from supporting Occupy Wall Street's goals 39/34, to opposing them 34/42.
Voters don't care for the Tea Party either, with 42% saying they support its goals to 45% opposed.  But asked whether they have a higher opinion of the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street movement the Tea Party wins out 43-37, representing a flip from last month when Occupy Wall Street won out 40-37 on that question. Again the movement with independents is notable- from preferring Occupy Wall Street 43-34, to siding with the Tea Party 44-40.
I don't think the bad poll numbers for Occupy Wall Street reflect Americans being unconcerned with wealth inequality.  Polling we did in some key swing states earlier this year found overwhelming support for raising taxes on people who make over $150,000 a year. In late September we found that 73% of voters supported the 'Buffett rule' with only 16% opposed.  And in October we found that Senators resistant to raising taxes on those who make more than a million dollars a year could pay a price at the polls. I don't think any of that has changed- what the downturn in Occupy Wall Street's image suggests is that voters are seeing the movement as more about the 'Occupy' than the 'Wall Street.'  The controversy over the protests is starting to drown out the actual message.
Voters continue to be very unhappy with the new majority in the House.  Only 37% of voters think the Republicans have been an upgrade from when the Democrats were in charge, to 41% who believe they've been worse. Among independent voters, whose overwhelming support fueled the new GOP majorities, 26% think the Republicans have been an improvement to 37% who believe they've made things worse. That unhappiness extends to John Boehner's personal poll numbers as well- just 30% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 46% who disapprove.  That -16 spread is a whole lot worse than the -6 we find for Obama's approval, but you don't see the Speaker being described as unpopular whenever you read about him the way you do the President.
As unpopular as the House Republicans are we find a tie in the generic Congressional ballot with 45% of voters favoring a Democratic candidate and 45% going for a Republican.  That's because Congressional Democrats, with a 28/63 approval spread, are almost as unpopular as their GOP counterparts.  They've succeeded in poisoning public opinion about the new Republican majority, but they haven't necessarily done anything to make voters see them as a palatable alternative.  That will be the challenge for House Democrats in the next year.

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