Democratic pollster Douglas Schoen's firm surveys the mob, and turns up some...interesting results:
The protesters have a distinct ideology and are bound by a deep commitment to radical left-wing policies. On Oct. 10 and 11, Arielle Alter Confino, a senior researcher at my polling firm, interviewed nearly 200 protesters in New York's Zuccotti Park. Our findings probably represent the first systematic random sample of Occupy Wall Street opinion.
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. Half (52%) have participated in a political movement before, virtually all (98%) say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals, and nearly one-third (31%) would support violence to advance their agenda.
We should view this so-called "movement's" distressingly prevalent violent streak with deep contempt, but we shouldn't be the least bit surprised by it. Its organizers and cheerleaders have been shrieking about bloody revolution and advocating hurling bricks through windows for days now, and this data suggests those infamous instances were not aberrations. But hey, wouldn't you at least consider civil disobedience if you were jobless and angry at "the system"? Perhaps, except...almost all of these people have jobs. They just tend to despise capitalism and the American system:
The 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. Now 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. Sixty-five percent 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. By a large margin (77%-22%), they support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
Schoen concludes with a word of caution for Democrats:
Thus Occupy Wall Street is a group of engaged progressives who are disillusioned with the capitalist system and have a distinct activist orientation. Among the general public, by contrast, 41% of Americans self-identify as conservative, 36% as moderate, and only 21% as liberal. That's why the Obama-Pelosi embrace of the movement could prove catastrophic for their party.
In 1970, aligning too closely with the antiwar movement hurt Democrats in the midterm election, when many middle-class and working-class Americans ended up supporting hawkish candidates who condemned student disruptions. While that 1970 election should have been a sweep against the first-term Nixon administration, it was instead one of only four midterm elections since 1938 when the president's party didn't lose seats...Put simply, Democrats need to say they are with voters in the middle who want cooperation, conciliation and lower taxes. And they should work particularly hard to contrast their rhetoric with the extremes advocated by the Occupy Wall Street crowd.
Methinks that admonition will fall on deaf ears. It has so far. Meanwhile, is 'Occupy Wall Street's' message catching fire across the fruited plain? Not beyond radical lefty precincts, it seems, as a wide majority of Americans (correctly) blame Washington for our current financial mess, not the private sector:
When asked whom they blame more for the poor economy, 64% of Americans name the federal government and 30% say big financial institutions.
Those numbers come courtesy of Gallup, which -- coincidentally? -- shows President Obama's job approval dipping back down to 38 percent today. The survey also reflects the results of a similar poll commissioned by The Hill. Bang those drums louder, occupiers, you've got a lot of work to do. No worries, though. With spokesmen like Columbia graduate student and trust fund baby, Edward T. Hall III, disseminating your message, what could go wrong?
UPDATE: Wow, these people are incredibly ignorant. Are you smarter than an #OWS goon? Yeah, probably. Be sure to read all the way to the last question, which these fools totally bomb, pardon the pun.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography