President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats are making a huge mistake in backing the Occupy Wall Street movement, says ace pollster Doug Schoen. And they may well pay the price in next year’s elections, Schoen, who has worked for both Bill and Hillary Clinton, writes in The Wall Street Journal.
“Last week, senior White House adviser David Plouffe said that ‘the protests you're seeing are the same conversations people are having in living rooms and kitchens all across America. . . . People are frustrated by an economy that does not reward hard work and responsibility, where Wall Street and Main Street don't seem to play by the same set of rules,’" Schoen writes.
“Yet the Occupy Wall Street movement reflects values that are dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people — and particularly with swing voters who are largely independent and have been trending away from the president since the debate over healthcare reform.”
Schoen’s firm polled 200 protestors in New York City and found them to be “radical left-wing” ideologues.
Among the findings:
• A whopping 98 percent say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals, and 31 percent would support violence.
• Only 15 percent of the protestors are unemployed.
• While an overwhelming majority of demonstrators supported Obama in 2008, only 48 percent say they will vote for him next year.
• Almost two-thirds, 65 percent, say government has a moral responsibility to guarantee all citizens access to affordable health care, a college education, and a secure retirement, regardless of the cost.
• More than three-quarters, 77 percent, favor raising taxes for the rich, but 58 percent oppose raising taxes for everyone.
Polling numbers for the general public provide quite a contrast, Schoen notes. They show that 41 percent of Americans view themselves as conservative, 36 percent as moderate, and only 21 percent as liberal.
“That's why the Obama-Pelosi embrace of the [protest] movement could prove catastrophic for their party,” he writes.
“Having abandoned any effort to work with the congressional supercommittee to craft a bipartisan agreement on deficit reduction, President Obama has thrown in with those who support his desire to tax oil companies and the rich, rather than appeal to independent and self-described moderate swing voters who want smaller government and lower taxes, not additional stimulus or interference in the private sector.”
Instead of appealing to the extreme left, Democrats should cultivate moderates and independents “by opposing bailouts and broad-based tax increases,” Schoen argues.
“Put simply, Democrats need to say they are with voters in the middle who want cooperation, conciliation and lower taxes. And they should work particularly hard to contrast their rhetoric with the extremes advocated by the Occupy Wall Street crowd.”
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