Pew (PDF). 12/7-11. Adults (10/20-23 results)
Q. From what you’ve read and heard about the Occupy Wall Street movement involving demonstrations in cities around the country, do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose the Occupy Wall Street Movement?
Support strongly: 15 (16)
Support somewhat: 29 (23)
Oppose somewhat: 16 (19)
Oppose strongly: 19 (16)
Perhaps the main reason for the continuing, and growing, support of the movement is that Americans overwhelmingly agree with its core concerns. By wide margins, people believe that "there is too much power in the hands of a few rich people and large corporations," that "the economic system in this country unfairly favors the wealthy," and that Wall Street hurts the economy more than it helps:
Roughly three-quarters of the public (77%) say that they think there is too much power in the hands of a few rich people and large corporations in the United States. In a 1941 Gallup poll, six-in-ten (60%) Americans expressed this view. About nine-in-ten (91%) Democrats and eight-in-ten (80%) of independents assert that power is too concentrated among the rich and large corporations, but this view is shared by a much narrower majority (53%) of Republicans.
Reflecting a parallel sentiment, 61% of Americans now say the economic system in this country unfairly favors the wealthy and just 36% say the system is generally fair to most Americans. About three-quarters (76%) of Democrats and 61% of independents say the economic system is tilted in favor of the wealthy; a majority (58%) of Republicans say that the system is generally fair to most Americans.
The public also views Wall Street negatively, little changed from opinions in March. Currently, just 36% say Wall Street helps the American economy more than it hurts—51% say it hurts more than helps. Majorities of both Democrats (60%) and independents (54%) say Wall Street hurts more than helps, while nearly half of Republicans say Wall Street helps the economy (49%).
Meanwhile, the public really doesn't like Congress, especially Republicans:
Public discontent with Congress has reached record levels, and the implications for incumbents in next year’s elections could be stark. Two-in-three voters say most members of Congress should be voted out of office in 2012 – the highest on record. And the number who say their own member should be replaced matches the all-time high recorded in 2010, when fully 58 members of Congress lost reelection bids – the most in any election since 1948.
The Republican Party is taking more of the blame than the Democrats for a do-nothing Congress. A record-high 50% say that the current Congress has accomplished less than other recent Congresses, and by nearly two-to-one (40% to 23%) more blame Republican leaders than Democratic leaders for this. By wide margins, the GOP is seen as the party that is more extreme in its positions, less willing to work with the other side to get things done, and less honest and ethical in the way it governs. And for the first time in over two years, the Democratic Party has gained the edge as the party better able to manage the federal government.
Whether they wanted to or not, one accomplishment of Occupy Wall Street has been to open the door for Democrats to retake Congress using a populist economic message. It remains to be seen if Democrats will seize the opportunity they have been given.