Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Occupy Wall Street, the movement that’s spread from Lower Manhattan to as far as Rome and Hong Kong, is backed by New Yorkers by a ratio of almost 3-to-1, Quinnipiac University pollsters found.
Sixty-seven percent of New York City voters said they agree with the protesters’ views, the university’s Polling Institute reported today. Support ranged from 81 percent among Democrats, to 58 percent from independents, to 35 percent by Republicans. By 72 percent to 24 percent, voters said demonstrators who obey the law can stay as long as they want.
The protests that began on Sept. 17 have inspired thousands to take to the streets in 100 U.S. cities and around the world on four continents, according to organizers. Participants say they represent “the 99 percent,” a reference to economist Joseph Stiglitz’s study showing the richest 1 percent of Americans control 40 percent of U.S. wealth.
“Critics complain that no one can figure out what the protesters are protesting,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Hamden, Connecticut-based poll. “But 7 out of 10 New Yorkers say they understand and most agree with the anti-Wall Street views of the protesters.”
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,068 registered voters by phone Oct. 12-16. The results had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
In a separate poll, almost three-quarters of New York voters said they favor higher taxes on millionaires, according to a Siena College Research Institute report today. The notion was supported by majorities in both major parties, 83 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of Republicans.
An existing tax adds a temporary surcharge on New York’s married couples earning more than $300,000, and singles earning more than $200,000. It will expire Dec. 31. Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and Senate Republicans, who hold a majority, made clear they wouldn’t renew it.
The telephone survey of 800 registered voters by Loudonville, New York-based Siena, conducted Oct. 10-12, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
--With assistance from Freeman Klopott in Albany. Editors: Pete Young, Mark Tannenbaum
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