Who is Occupy Wall Street? After six weeks, a profile finally emerges.
First off, Occupy Wall Street protesters are older than you think. On average, for every college 'kid' there's a 40-something in mid-career. And while 60 percent voted for Obama, 73 percent are unhappy with him.
The "Occupy Wall Street" signs in New York’s Zuccotti Park may be catchy, but they tell little about the nitty-gritty of the rank and file. Now, six weeks into what is becoming a global movement, pollsters and online data sources have begun to answer some basic questions about participants: What are their political beliefs and who is supporting them?Skip to next paragraph
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“We have had a lot of speculation about who these people are,” says Costas Panagopoulos, a professor of political science at Fordham University in New York whose team of 15 researchers surveyed some 300 New York City protesters between Oct. 14 and 18.
IN PICTURES: Occupy Wall Street protests
“Some of what we found reinforced what many already believed, and some results were surprising,” says Professor Panagopoulos. While 60 percent of protesters said they voted for Barack Obama in 2008, 73 percent said they disapprove of how Mr. Obama is handling his job as president.
Not unexpectedly, given Occupy Wall Street’s assertion that the US political system is adversely affected by an improper distribution of political power, nearly all (97 percent) of those surveyed disapprove of how Congress is handling its job.
Nevertheless, says Panagopoulos, 42 percent of the protesters said they will vote for the Democratic candidate for the US House for their district. Fewer than 2 percent of those surveyed said they’d vote for the Republican.
“There seems to be a surprising confidence that Democrats will be responsive to their concerns, despite the fact that a Democrat has been in the White House during the past three years as all this has built up,” he says, noting that more than three-quarters (78 percent) believe the economy has gotten worse this past year.