If you missed the Time poll today that the left is buzzing about, here you go. Fully 54 percent are at least somewhat favorably disposed to the protests on Wall Street versus just 27 percent who say the same about the tea-party movement. Philip Klein has a nice analysis of how Time loaded the phrasing of the question to get their desired result, but there’s more to the numbers than that. For one thing, there’s age. People have had two years to observe the tea party, warts and all, versus a month for OWS. As time goes on — starting tomorrow, maybe — their warts will come out too. Beyond that, OWS benefits tremendously by not having a concrete agenda. Much like their friend in the White House, they’re essentially a blank screen onto which you can project your fondest dreams. Are you one of the 99.99 percent of Americans who prefers the middle class to the rich? Well, good news: So does OWS. Do you happen to agree with literally everyone else in the country that America needs more jobs? OWS does too! How about those bank bailouts? Does it kinda sorta stick in your craw that we had to give banks lots of taxpayer money to keep the financial sector afloat? It sticks in OWS’s craw too. They’re so vague on particulars, in fact, that lately I’ve started to see posts online heralding the movement as some sort of cutting-edge Internet-age populist experiment which is “less about victory than sustainability. It is not about one-pointedness, but inclusion and groping toward consensus.” In other words, it’s not supposed to accomplish something, at least not right away. For now it’s just supposed to be, man.
First, here’s the question on Occupy Wall St.:
Q11. IN THE PAST FEW DAYS, A GROUP OF PROTESTORS HAS BEEN GATHERING ON WALL STREET IN NEW YORK CITY AND SOME OTHER CITIES TO PROTEST POLICIES WHICH THEY SAY FAVOR THE RICH, THE GOVERNMENT’S BANK BAILOUT, AND THE INFLUENCE OF MONEY IN OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM. IS YOUR OPINION OF THESE PROTESTS VERY FAVORABLE, SOMEWHAT FAVORABLE, SOMEWHAT UNFAVORABLE, VERY UNFAVORABLE, OR DON’T YOU KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THE PROTESTS TO HAVE AN OPINION?
This states the views of the Occupy Wall St. crowd in as sympathetic a way as possible — even most conservatives and libertarians opposed the Wall St. bailout and the type of crony capitalism that comes with mixing money and politics. This is not the controversial aspect of Occupy Wall Street.
Yet here’s how the Tea Party question is phrased:
Q8. ON ANOTHER ISSUE, IS YOUR OPINION OF THE TEA PARTY MOVEMENT VERY FAVORABLE, SOMEWHAT FAVORABLE, SOMEWHAT UNFAVORABLE, VERY UNFAVORABLE, OR DON’T YOU KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THE TEA PARTY TO HAVE AN OPINION?
But they’re spreading like wildfire, right?
Maybe. Maybe not.
If OWS averaged 1000 people at every protest site that’s less than 100,000 people. Those “fringe” Tea Partiers did better than that at one rally.