Today in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, pollster Doug Schoen released the results of a “systematic random sample” of Occupy Wall Street. From his survey, Schoen concludes that the Occupy Wall Street protesters are “dangerously out of touch,” “radical,” and “unrepresentative.” Schoen asserts that support of the Occupy Wall Street movement by prominent Democrats “may cost them the 2012 election.”
His Wall Street Journal article, however, does not disclose his prior business relationship with Citibank, one of the prime targets of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. According to his official bio he has conducted “strategic research” for “an extensive list of corporate clients” including Citibank. News accounts reveal that, in the past, he has conducted polling on behalf of Citibank. Schoen told ThinkProgress that the Occupy Wall Street poll was done on his own initiative and “nobody paid a cent for it.” Schoen also said that Citibank is no longer a client of his firm.
Nevertheless, some of Schoen’s findings underscore that Occupy Wall Street protesters share concerns of the broader American public. Schoen found that 77 percent of protesters support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Similarly, a CNN poll released this week found 76 percent of all Americans support a surtax on millionaires. (Schoen also found the protesters largely reject raising taxes for everyone, mirroring broader sentiment.) Oddly, Schoen advises politicians to reject Occupy Wall Street because Americans want “lower taxes.”
Schoen finds that the Occupy Wall Street protesters have a “distinct activist orientation,” which is not surprising for a group that has spent the last several weeks demonstrating in a park. But Americans appear to share their frustrations with our economic system and support the movement. A recent TIME poll found that Americans support Occupy Wall Street by a 2 to 1 margin.
The same poll found that more Americans have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party (33 percent) than a favorable view (27 percent). Yet, every major Republican candidate has embraced the Tea Party. Schoen, who bills himself as a “moderate Democrat,” has described the Tea Party as “one of the most powerful and extraordinary phenomena in recent American political history” with “an agenda that speaks to the broad concerns of the American electorate.” Schoen also blasted the media for dismissing the Tea Party as “as marginal and extreme.”