Sunday, December 4, 2011

Poll: Americans Aren't Sipping Tea or Being Occupied

From Religion News Services:

In a war between the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movement to capture the hearts of Americans, who wins? According to a new poll, it’s a draw.

Less than a third of Americans say either movement represents their values, according to a poll released Wednesday (Nov. 16) by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service.

One thing, however, is clear: neither movement can make a strong claim to speak for Americans. Near identical majorities say neither movement represents their values—57 percent for the Tea Party, and 56 percent for Occupy Wall Street.

What’s more, one in five Americans say each of the movements has a negative impact on society, and about four in 10 Americans see both as largely irrelevant.

“They’re mirror images of each other, but the symmetry at the national level hides a very different distribution,” said Robert Jones, the research firm’s CEO. “Support for the Tea Party is more intensely concentrated among Republicans, but support for the OWS movement is less intense among Democrats and more evenly spread among other groups.”

The poll—designed to gauge Americans’ views about economic hardship and the proper responses to it—also revealed some striking divides and ambivalences, particularly in the way people view opportunity in America.

A significant majority (eight in 10) believes the gap between rich and poor has widened during the past 20 years, a finding that held true across generational, religious and political lines. Nearly half of those polled believe the American Dream—the idea that if you work hard you’ll get ahead—once held true but no longer does.

And while two-thirds of Americans agree that the government should do more to reduce the gap between rich and poor, an even higher proportion (71 percent) say poor people have become too dependent on government assistance programs.
Read the rest here.


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