November 7, 2011

The numbers: OWS vs. Tea Party

It's hard to get any sort of accurate sizing of Occupy Wall Street or the Tea Party protests of yesteryear.  In the past others and I had posted about the underestimation of the Tea Party rally sizes, and many have pointed out the disproportionate coverage estimates of OWS crowds.  They are in no way equal in size to the Tea Party rallies, but that is just too difficult to prove, especially given the slant of coverage facing both protest movements.  Which leads to my main point.  With the favorable coverage of OWS versus the unfair treatment of Tea Party rallies and Tea Partiers in general, it's not surprising that OWS is winning the numbers war, where numbers can actually be measured.

I'm speaking of course, of popularity polls, the scourge of factual reporting.  Nevertheless, in the arena of public opinion is where battles of a political nature are fought.  In that light, the Tea Party is losing the war.
The Occupy Wall Street movement may be starting to lose its luster with the American public, with four in ten now saying they have an unfavorable view of the protests, a new nationwide UMass Lowell/Boston Herald poll shows... 
But the UMass Lowell/Herald poll shows one clear trend — that Americans have a more negative view of the Tea Party movement than the Wall Street protests.
Half of American adults say they have an unfavorable impression of the Tea Party, while just 29 percent hold a favorable view, according to the poll. A total of 31 percent say they have a “strongly unfavorable” view, indicating the intensity of feeling against the Tea Party movement is relatively high. Just 10 percent view the Tea Party movement in a “strongly favorable” light.
Just 13 percent have a “strongly favorable” impression of the Occupy movement, while 21 percent had a “strongly unfavorable” view. Surprisingly, lower-income voters have the least favorable opinion of the Occupy movement, while those making more than $100,000 are more supportive. And the strongest backing for the Occupy protesters comes from those living in the Northeast.
The poll does show one common thread between both movements, however — a strong dislike for both Wall Street and the federal government.
While 85 percent of those who support the Occupy movement say they have an unfavorable view of Wall Street and large corporations, 64 percent of Tea Party sympathizers share that negative view.
And feelings against government in Washington run even hotter. More than 71 percent of all American adults have an unfavorable impression of the federal government, including 72 percent of Occupy Wall Street supporters and 86 percent of Tea Party sympathizers.
Are Americans anti-Tea Party?  The media certainly is, and as the Marshall McLuhan saying goes, the medium is the message.

Some of this is conservatives' own fault.  The Tea Party rallies tapered off after the midterm elections.  I exhorted against it at the time, but the Tea Party went away, at least visibly.  The Tea Party needs image management - constantly.  The Tea Party is no longer driving the headlines, it abandoned them.  That was a mistake but it can be corrected, and must be before to long because the media controls the narrative and if they aren't reacting to the Tea Party they are instead driving their own narrative, one that is more OWS-sympathetic.  We cannot let that stand.
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