Wednesday, November 30, 2011

US Politics: One-third of Americans Support the Tea Party and Two in Five Support Occupy Wall Street

SOURCE Harris Interactive

Almost three years ago the Tea Party movement was born and, at the moment, one-third of Americans (34%) support the movement while two in five oppose it (41%) and one-quarter (25%) are not at all sure. Almost three months ago, another movement, Occupy Wall Street (OWS), began. Currently, two in five U.S. adults (39%) say they support the OWS protests, one-quarter (27%) oppose them, and three in ten (29%) are not familiar with the protests.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,499 adults surveyed online between November 7 and 14, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

Who are Tea Party supporters?

As one might expect, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to be Tea Party supporters (71% vs. 6%) and the same holds true for Conservatives over Liberals (68% vs. 7%). But Moderates and Independents are not that similar as just one quarter of Moderates (24%) support the Tea Party while two in five Independents do (39%).

Looking at generations, half (50%) of Matures (those 66 and older) are Tea Party supporters compared to 36% of Baby Boomers (those 47-65), 30% of Gen Xers (those 35-46) and one-quarter (27%) of Echo Boomers (those 18-34). There are also educational differences. Two-thirds of those with a post graduate degree (65%) and half of those with a college degree (51%) oppose the Tea Party compared to 42% of those with some college and 30% of those with a high school education or less.

Who are Occupy Wall Street supporters?

When it comes to the Occupy Wall Street movement, two-thirds of Liberals (67%) and almost three in five Democrats (58%) support it, as do one in five Republicans (19%) and 16% of Conservatives. With the OWS protests, Independents (43%) and Moderates (44%) are more closely aligned than they are when looking at Tea Party support.

While Matures are most likely among the generations to support the Tea Party, they are least likely (33%) to support the OWS movement. Baby Boomers are most likely (43%) to support these protests followed by Echo Boomers (41%). Education also plays a role in support of this movement. Only one-third of those with a high school education or less (32%) support OWS, just 23% oppose it and two in five (40%) are not familiar with the movement. Among post-graduates, three in five (58%) support OWS and 30% oppose it.

So What?

It is very likely that both of these groups will continue to play a role during the upcoming election year and it will be interesting to see how candidates of both parties deal with these movements and the feelings associated with them. Obviously, Democratic candidates will favor OWS while Republican candidates will lean more towards the Tea Party. But, what about those candidates trying to win over the middle? If you look at the likely swing states for 2012 (Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia) 38% of those people support the Tea Party and 39% oppose it, while 36% of people in these states support the OWS movement and 31% oppose it. This may make for hard choices by both President Obama and the eventual Republican nominee.


This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between November 7 and 14, 2011 among 2,499 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.