This morning on Fox News Sunday, conservative panelists did their best to smear and discredit the 99 Percent Movement. Pundit Bill Kristol called the protests “un-American” and “fundamentally undemocratic,” despite the fact that recent polls show that they are supported by a majority of Americans. Kristol even complained that the world “occupy” was itself Marxist.
Fox anchor Brit Hume called Democrats’ support of the movement “toxic” to centrist voters who decide elections:
HUME: To most middle-of-the-road voters, those who decide elections, Occupy Wall Street is toxic…She [Nancy Pelosi] said it’s focused, and I guess it’s brought some attention to the issue of income inequality, which will be a big Democratic talking point in this election cycle, but I think they need to get away from these Occupy Wall Street protesters as fast as they can.
Hume’s claim flies in the face of most polling about public support for the protests. For instance, according to the CBS/New York Times poll taken just one month after the start of the first encampment in New York, 43 percent of Americans said they agree with the movement. Another poll for the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found a similar level of support. Most importantly, in both polls, support for the movement was stronger among independent voters.
In short, the goals of Occupy Wall Street have already captured the support of the voters in the middle of the political spectrum, and its themes of income inequality, unemployment, and corporate corruption have already begun to change the discussion.