Douglas Schoen is a pollster who's worked both for Bill Clinton and Citibank, among others. In today's WSJ, he reports results of a random poll of 200 of the Occupy Wall Street protestors. The results are a little scary:
Our research shows clearly that the movement doesn't represent unemployed America and is not ideologically diverse. Rather, it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence. Half (52%) have participated in a political movement before, virtually all (98%) say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals, and nearly one-third (31%) would support violence to advance their agenda.
One recalls the violence that has been associated with some of the far left's economic protests: Toronto 2010 G8/G20 meeting; Seattle 1999 WTO; Vancouver 2010 Olympics; London 2009 G20; Rome 2001 G8. One reflects that many of these OWSers seem to embrace a 60s nostalgia. One ponders 60s groups like the Weather Underground (and Obama buddy Bill Ayers). And one wonders.
Even if the movement remains entirely peaceful, their agenda would still be economically dangerous:
What binds a large majority of the protesters together—regardless of age, socioeconomic status or education—is a deep commitment to left-wing policies: opposition to free-market capitalism and support for radical redistribution of wealth, intense regulation of the private sector, and protectionist policies to keep American jobs from going overseas.
Sixty-five percent say that government has a moral responsibility to guarantee all citizens access to affordable health care, a college education, and a secure retirement—no matter the cost. By a large margin (77%-22%), they support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, but 58% oppose raising taxes for everybody, with only 36% in favor. And by a close margin, protesters are divided on whether the bank bailouts were necessary (49%) or unnecessary (51%).
And stll many top Democrats seem to be trying to figure out a way of embracing OWS.