Old fault lines
Here's the write-up of that PPP Poll I mentioned yesterday about the public losing sympathy for he Occupy movement:
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.
As I said yesterday, the "controversy" is a direct result of right wing lizard brain propaganda about Occupiers being sub-human beasts. The drumbeat has been loud and constant, particularly on local news, and it was almost inevitable that the notion would take hold among some people. Add to that the sight of heavily armed Robo Cops swarming all over our cities as if they were staging an assault on Falluja and people get nervous. That's not an accident either.
This is not a static situation so these numbers could bounce around. And I don't think the Occupiers are obligated to react to them in any case. They are on their own trajectory. But this thing was bound to run along America's cultural fault line whether it set out to or not and in the end it will likely fall on one side of it. That's ok. That's doesn't mean it won't have the impact everyone seeks. It's just that the idea of the 99% vs the 1% is a great slogan and its certainly valid. But in our culture, we just don't divide that way.