About three in four Americans are aware of the protest movement Occupy Wall Street; and those Americans are more supportive than not. But the support has a partisan cast — the latest Economist/YouGov poll finds that while 33% of Democrats and 25% of independents who are aware of OWS identify with the movement, only 5% of Republicans do. 

The public that is aware of the OWS movement — likes what it sees. By 39% to 25%, those Americans say they support the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement. At least for now, OWS gets more positive support from the public than the Tea Party does (although more Americans — 88% – have heard something about the Tea Party movement). 


There is little overlap between the two groups: just 12% of those who identify with either identify with the other as well. Both groups appeal more to older Americans than younger ones (those under the age of 30 are generally less attentive to either group). And both Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street identifiers share a sense of dissatisfaction and even anger at many government and financial institutions, although they express it differently. 

OWS identifiers overwhelmingly see too much inequality in the U.S. Tea Partiers disagree. A majority of those who identify with OWS believe the government has a role in seeing that everyone has a job and a good standard of living. A majority of Tea Partiers don’t. Nearly nine in ten Tea Partiers believe Americans are becoming too dependent on government, while OWS identifiers do not. Most Tea Party identifiers say people should get ahead on their own; OWS identifiers are divided. 

Please tell us whether you agree or disagree with the following statements.
 Tea Party followersOccupy Wall street followers
 AgreeNeither agree,
nor disagree
DisagreeAgreeNeither agree,
nor disagree
There is too much inequality in America. 26% 32% 42% 82% 15% 3%
The government should see to it that everyone
has a job and a good standard of living.
16% 10% 74% 56% 28% 16%
Americans are becoming too dependent on
88% 8% 4% 36% 26% 38%
People should get ahead on their own. 89% 6% 5% 49% 28% 23%
Government is too controlled by special interests. 89% 6% 5% 93% 6% 1%

However, nine in ten in each group believe the government is too controlled by special interests. And while the two groups disagree when it comes to their feelings about Barack Obama and his Administration, almost nine in ten of both Tea Partiers and OWS identifiers are dissatisfied or angry with Congress — a greater percentage than the public overall. More than half are angry with it. 

There is also anger at the financial system, thought the two groups focus on different targets. Most Tea Party identifiers are angry with the Federal Reserve; more than half the OWS group are angry at banks and other financial institutions. 

There is a complicated relationship when it comes to the political parties, with Occupy Wall Street identifiers more likely to dislike both political parties. Nearly all Tea Partiers have a negative opinion of the Democratic Party and nearly all Occupy Wall Street identifiers are dissatisfied or angry with the Republicans. But while just 38% of Tea Partiers are negative about the Republican Party, a majority of OWS identifiers are dissatisfied or angry with the Democrats. 

How do you feel about the following things?
 Dissatisfied or angry
Tea Party
Occupy Wall
Street followers
Congress 77% 86% 91%
The Obama Administration 59% 91% 43%
Major banks and
financial institutions
71% 69% 92%
The Federal Reserve 59% 85% 61%
The Democratic Party 60% 91% 56%
The Republican Party 58% 38% 83%

There are huge group differences when it comes to the economy they believe the U.S. has, and the one they want to see. Six out of ten Tea Partiers desire an economy that is totally a free-market economy. They see the economy as currently tending towards something that is more government-run. Those who think of themselves as part of Occupy Wall Street see the current economy as somewhat more free-market than the one they would like to see. 


Americans overall — along with Tea Partiers and OWS supporters – are very negative about the country’s financial institutions. Two in three do not think the problems banks experienced in the last few years have been fixed. And Americans are divided 43% to 38% on whether the banking system can even survive another economic crisis. 

Economist/YouGov poll archives can found here.

Photo source: Press Association

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