Does the Occupy Movement reflect mainstream opinion about the problems that led to the financial crisis? According to a poll conducted by The Hill, the protests reflect a distinctly narrow political view. The majority of likely voters blame Washington, not Wall Street, for the financial crisis and recession:
In the minds of likely voters, Washington, not Wall Street, is primarily to blame for the financial crisis and the subsequent recession.
That is the key finding of this week’s The Hill poll, which comes as the national Occupy Wall Street movement — a protest that objects to risky practices and excessive salaries at major banks, along with American income disparities in general — enters its second month.
The movement appears to have struck a chord with progressive voters, but it does not seem to represent the feelings of the wider public.
Not only doesn’t it appear to be resonating with non-progressives, the entire effort might end up blowing up in the face of the Obama administration as it seeks to co-opt the movement:
A plurality believe that the Occupy Wall Street movement will hurt Democrats and Obama in the 2012 election. Even those whose sympathies lie on the left of center seem unsure about the likely political repercussions. Just half of all liberal likely voters — the group most likely to blame Wall Street for the recession — and fewer than half of all Democrats believe the protests will help their side next year.
The crosstabs show a remarkable lack of traction for the Occupy Movement’s rhetoric even among those perhaps somewhat inclined to support it. For instance, younger voters (39 and younger) blame Washington instead of Wall Street 57/31. Self-professed liberals have a majority the other way, but not an impressive one at 36/55. Those making under $20K have a plurality more angry at Washington than Wall Street, 46/39, and support for Occupy’s position in the rest of the income demographics falls below 30%. Independents reject Occupy’s position 59/32, a big red flag if Obama expects to make political hay out of the protests.
Speaking of which, these likely voters don’t consider that a very good strategy, either. Pluralities in most demos figure that the Occupy Movement will hurt the 2012 prospects of Obama and Democrats in general. Exceptions are in the usual places: black voters (61/16 to help), Democrats (44/22), liberals (50/21), and the lower two income brackets, both virtual ties at 35/33 and 34/32. Indies go 2-1 in believing it will hurt rather than help (20/42), moderates edge slightly in the same direction (29/31), and every age demo has a plurality believing it will hurt Obama and the Democrats.
And all of this comes at a time when the national media has given very little coverage to the radical and anti-Semitic nature of the protests. If the media covered this movement the way they initially covered the Tea Party, only this time with plenty of reason to do so, no politician would seriously consider embracing this “movement.”