A very interesting poll has been conducted among the Occupy Wall Street crowd in New York City. Pollster Doug Schoen's company has conducted the first such effort and the results are written up in a piece for The Wall Street Journal.
As the poll indicates, it is a mistake for the Democrats in elected office to throw their support behind this group. The group is no more supportive of Democrats than of Republicans in office. And, the antics of the group are turning off Independent voters, a group crucial to winning re-election in 2012 for Barack Obama.
The ideology of the protesters is that of the far left. Redistribution of wealth? Check. Free social programs for all? Check. Civil disobedience? Check. Resorting to violence to push the agenda? Check.
This is not mainstream America by any definition. While the White House spokespeople are stating with confidence that these people represent average Americans who are discussing what everyone else is discussing around the much fabled kitchen table, this poll shows a different opinion.
The vast majority of the protesters are employed and only 15% unemployed. The majority of them voted for Barack Obama in 2008 yet only 48% say they will vote for his re-election. A quarter of them say they will not vote at all. Fewer than one in three identify as a Democrat. The same amount claim no party affiliation.
The common thread is left wing ideology. They are isolationists, anti-capitalists, and in favor of heavy government regulation of private industry.
They are equally divided on the government's decision to bail out the banks. Most are in favor of raising taxes on the wealthy but 58% are not in favor of raising taxes on others.
Here's the problem for the Democrats: 41% of Americans identify as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 21% as liberal. Thus, it is just not smart politics for the White House and other Democrats to glom onto the movement. Average Americans have no patience today for hyper-partisan politics and a President who encourages it.
Schoen's piece is well worth a read.