Monday, October 24, 2011

Voter Support for Occupy Movement? Part 3: Tea Party vs Occupy Wall Street

Two polls in three days, my kind of research!

For the third installment of my report on potential voter support for the Occupy movement, I first have to thank the good people at the Pew Research Center for this poll just released today online. Specifically, Pew conducted a survey of 1,009 adults in America between October 20th and the 23rd. The poll specifically asked about support for not just the Occupy Wall Street movement but also the Tea Party movement. The poll went a little further to specifically ask how much opposition there was with the public for both movements (instead of just asking how many support them and being left to assume the remaining percentage dislike them).

So what did those surveyed say about these two seemingly opposing movements? (1)

  • 39% of those surveyed support the Occupy Wall Street Movement

  • 32% of those surveyed support the Tea Party Movement

  • 35% of those surveyed oppose the Occupy Wall Street Movement

  • 44% of those surveyed oppose the Tea Party Movement

  • 10% of those surveyed support both movements

  • 14% of those surveyed oppose both movements

  • Also, 20% of those surveyed weren't sure how they felt about either movements.

    But wait, there's more! The good people at Pew also broke down the support for each movement down by political affiliation.

    For the OWS movement, their ideological support is as follows:

  • 52% of Democrats support OWS

  • 19% of Republicans support OWS

  • 43% of Independents support OWS

  • For the Tea Party Movement, the breakdown is:

  • 63% of Republicans support the Tea Party

  • 13% of Democrats support the Tea Party

  • 30% of Independents support the Tea Party

  • So what does all this mean? Well firstly, the numbers for the Tea Party as a whole did surprise me. Now there has been a lot of talk lately about the Tea Party's support eroding since the 2010 mid-term elections, including a recent New York Times/CBS poll that showed that just 20% of Americans supported the Tea Party movement, with 40% opposing it. (2) Gallup released a poll conducted during August this year that showed 25% of adults polled supported the Tea Party movement, 28% opposing the movement, and 42% who claimed to be neither supporters or opponents of the movement. Further, according to Gallup's tracking of the Tea Party's support, their highest support in their polls was 32% in November 2010. (3) So as you can see, the support for the Tea Party movement is not exactly easy to pin down. Gallup and the NYT's polls show a decline in Tea Party support since last November while this Pew poll found the numbers of supporters to be quite similar to those high numbers from last fall. Gallup's option of being "neither" a supporter or an opponents is much higher than the other two polls and would seem to explain the gap between theirs and NYT's poll. Regardless, I believe the reason the Tea Party's support MAY have fallen since last fall is simply because their level of exposure has certainly gone down since last fall. I suspect their numbers will go up a bit the closer we get to the 2012 election but we'll have to wait and see..

    What this does show is that polls are fickle things and depending on who conducts the poll the results can be rather unpredictable and uneven. The same is bound to be true of any polls involving the Occupy Wall Street.

    However, the fact that the new Pew poll and the AP-GfK show similar support for the OWS does give their numbers some good strength in the accuracy department since it's rare for two polls conducted by two different organizations to have such similar numbers. The only major difference in the two polls is the breakdown of support for the OWS. In the AP-GfK poll, 60% of Democrats support the OWS compared to 52% in this new poll.

    So what do I think of the numbers for the OWS to date? Personally, the amount of support in the polls today is fairly strong considering how young the movement is. In theory anyway, their numbers are high enough that if this was an election year the movement could have a major political impact. The key words there however are "in theory". The OWS is using much different tactics than the Tea Party did to cause change and as such it's hard for me personally to gauge how successful they will be.

    Special thanks to the Pew Research Center for the release of this new poll, lets hope there will be more similar polls to come!



    The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and not that of the Modern Whig Party or any other political organization.

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Voter Support for the Occupy Movement? Part 2

    Well, at long last, we have a national poll that gives us our first good glimpse at what support this Occupy movement has gained, now five weeks into the movement's existence. The poll is question was carried out by the Associated Press-GfK, in which they asked 1,000 adults between October 13-17.

    The results of the poll are that 37% of those polled said they support the Occupy Wall Street movement, which I think is a pretty fair number considering the relatively young age of this movement (just 5 weeks or so old). More importantly, the poll also gave us a ideological breakdown of the supporters of this movement.

    Not surprisingly, (to me anyway), 64% of the OWS supporters identified themselves as Democrats, 22% identified themselves as Independents, and 14% identified themselves as Republicans. While the numbers for Democrats and Independents didn't surprise me much, the number of identified Republicans in the poll did.

    Some other useful date from this poll includes the following:

    1. 68% of respondents agreed that former President Bush deserves "almost all" or "a lot but not all" the blame for the current economic downturn.
    2. 15% of respondents agreed that President Obama deserves the blame for the current economic downturn.
    3. Nearly 6 in 10 respondents blame Congressional Republicans for the current economic downturn.
    4. 60% of respondents Democrats more than Republicans to create jobs

    NOTE: the numbers above are a breakdown of those who DO support the OWS, not the total number of respondents.

    As suggested by the above note, this poll didn't focus on the OWS alone and covered A LOT of ground, too much for me to discuss in full in this post so I decided to focus just on the OWS relevant numbers.

    Now while these numbers are the first good glimpse of what kind of support the OWS has to date, as always this is just ONE poll, and one poll does not make a trend. We will need more polls in the near future to be able to safely gauge what kind of support this movement really has with the average American, but my thanks to the AP and GfK for providing us with some initial numbers.

    Here are the two main links for this article. One is discussing the OWS aspect of the poll, the other about the full and entire poll done by the AP-GfK:


    The views expressed in this work as solely those of the author and not that of the Modern Whig Party or any other political organization.

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Crossing the Line between Political Discourse and Un-Americanism

    Today I read an article on Huffington Post that really shocked me, and that's a rare thing for me when it comes to American politics. The article in question claims that a blogger on the Tea Party Nation's website actually called on American businesses to NOT HIRE A SINGLE WORKER until President Obama ends his "war against business and my country"...Now let that sink in for a second.

    This person, who I refuse to mention by name because they don't deserve the space on this post, has actually written a pledge for business owners to sign that in it's final line calls for said business owners to not hire a single person as long as they perceive President Obama's policies to be both anti-business and anti-American...

    So this ignorant waste of oxygen thinks American business owners should punish the millions of unemployed Americans by not hiring them all because of the President's policies? I honestly can't wrap my head around this..

    You can denounce the President's policies, call him a socialist/fascist, and even call him Un-American..But to call on businesses to not hire ANYONE because of the President's policies crosses the line in my mind..And that is the line between political discourse and outright Un-American.

    And don't get me wrong, I am all for political discourse. I love a good political debate (except the ones on TV) and can tolerate pretty extreme ideas when it comes to how people feel about the government and the President. I myself don't agree with a LOT of his policies and as long as people keep it civil (as in, no racist comments or any of that birther nonsense), I don't get upset about much of anything people say about the President. And when it comes to the Tea Party, I fully expect them to say rather negative things about the President since he is a liberal and they most definitely are not. But this goes too far. Calling on American businesses to send their money to Obama's potential political opponents is fine (whether in donation form or in forming a SuperPAC), but calling for businesses to punish the average American worker simply because you disagree with his policies is just plain Un-American and the person that posted that on the Tea Party Nation website should be ashamed of themselves.

    Originally I was going to condemn the Tea Party Nation group as a whole for this Un-American pledge posted on their site, but I decided against it because it isn't right to hold an entire group accountable for the posting of one member of their website. Even for something as stupid as this. However I do hope that somebody from the TPN does denounce this idiotic boycott...


    The views and opinions expressed in this work are solely those of the author's and not that of the Modern Whig Party or any other political organization.

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Occupy Wall Street Live Feed

    For those interested, I have found a good link to a live feed of the Wall Street protests. The man with the camera gives pretty good commentary and you get a "raw" look at the people participating in this protest in NYC tonight. This hasn't been edited by any news agency so it's about as "fair and balanced" as it gets..

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Voter Support for the Occupy Movement?

    A few days ago I posted a piece on Ann Coulter's comments about the Occupy (insert city name) movement. To be short, I gave Ms. Coulter credit for making several good points about the error many are making in trying to compare this movement to the early stages of the Tea Party movement and at the same time denounced her comparison of this movement to Fascists movements in the 1920's and 1930's. Now, this post did generate some good debate about how much potential this movement could have and how "unlikely" its rise has been. I was even denounced for seemingly just mentioning Ms. Coulter's name. For that and other reasons, you will notice a bit of a change in my blog format. From now on, I will put a disclaimer at the end of all my pieces to clarify that I do not speak for the Modern Whig Party in any official function whatsoever so there will be no confusion in the future..Now back to our regularly scheduled program!

    I am continuing my previous post's theme on the Occupy (insert city/street name) movement, this time focusing on it's merits, actions, and possible support among the American people as a whole.

    Firstly, I want to talk about the merits of this movement to date. For those who don't know, the group that first organized the Occupy Wall Street protest stated the main goal of the protest was to stop the influence of major corporations in the federal government (in the form of legal lobbying and outright corruption), and in turn making the federal government less representative of the American people. Now in itself, that is a good and noble goal in my mind. The problem I have is two-fold: 1) You will never stop major corporations from influencing politics, only limit their influence to some degree, and 2) Since their start they seem to have lost control over the message.

    My first problem is to me a realistic one. I don't believe I or anyone else will ever see the day when corporations don't have major influence in the federal government simply because they have always had an influence and I see no reason for that ever change. To be truth, to some degree they deserve to have some influence, just as all Americans do. The sticking issue is HOW much influence should they have? I don't think there is much doubt in most Americans' minds that major corporations and "wall street" have too much influence in our government today and in turn are part of the problem in our federal government. So in that sense, this movement had a good start in terms of what kind of goal they are looking for, I think they are just a bit too naive about how much success they could possibly achieve.

    The second problem I think is the most critical to the movement. While they had a good starting goal, since then it has been muddled a bit by a mass of other left-of-the political spectrum causes. This ranges from environmental activists, labor union members, and those decrying the "rich" of America or the "1%" as many of the protesters for effectively screwing over the "99%" of Americans. They have also been joined by a plethora of political commentators including Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore. And while many of these may be just causes, having so many with no clear consensus or order to it will only fuel the argument that this movement has no real direction.

    Another area of interest I have for this movement is how much support they could potentially get from the American voter.

    At first, I admit I figured this movement would likely only get support from liberals in America and since they only constitute 21% of Americans compared to the 41% of Americans whom the Tea Party movement gains much of its support from, that this movement has little chance of gaining as much support as the Tea Party let alone surpassing it.(August 2011, Gallup)

    However as first impressions goes, this one may be a little premature. Gallup's poll is a handy indicator but it's a limited one too because it is only asking those surveyed a pretty general ideological question. However thanks to the good people at the Pew Research Center, we have a better look at where this movement could gain some support from.

    In a rather in depth ideological survey conducted earlier this year, they asked registered voters surveyed which of the following groups they most closely identified with:


    1. Staunchly Conservative- 11%

    2. Main Street Republicans- 14%


    3. Libertarians- 10%

    4. Disaffected- 11%

    5. Post-Moderns- 14%


    6. New Coalition Democrats- 9%

    7. Hard-Pressed Democrats- 15%

    8. Solid-Liberals- 16%

    Now, I know what you're thinking. This poll seems to contradict the one published by Gallup a few months ago but take a closer look. While it would seem that Liberals have a larger base of support in America, one has to remember that Liberal doesn't always equal Democrat, nor does Conservative always equal Republican. There is always a bit of overlap.

    And when trying to figure out if this Occupy movement has the potential to gain strong support from the American people, the Pew Research Center did us something of a favor by asking a question that goes right to the origin goal set by this movement. When given the statement of "Business/Corporations make a fair profit", only 39% of all respondents agreed with that statement. Furthermore, the survey also found that 47% of respondents believe "Wall Street" hurts the economy more than it help while only 38% believed it helped the economy more. (PewResearch, 2011)

    So, after all it would seem my first impressions about how much support this movement could gain from the average American were a bit off. A significant number of Americans, spanning the political spectrum, have a good deal of distrust of major corporations and "Wall Street". But here's the snag..If the Occupy movement continues to loss their direction and not focus on their original goal of curtailing Wall Street/Corporations influence on American politics, they won't get the chance to tap into that potential support and will instead be written off as just another disorganized "liberal" movement. Only IF they can hone their message and better organize do I believe they can gain the kind of support to change the political game as the Tea Party has.

    Finally, I encourage my readers to do their own research on this Occupy movement: it's backers, supporters, origins, demands, and it's actions to date. One thing this movement has going for it is it has created a lot of noise on the news networks and as such there is bound to be misinformation out there about them (both from its supporters and detracters). Doing your own research is vital to forming real opinion about any political movement, something I learned putting together this piece.


    The views and opinions expressed in this work are solely those of the author's and not that of the Modern Whig Party or any other political organization.

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    I Can't Believe I am saying this..Ann Coulter may have a point

    Let me be clear, I don't normally agree with anything Ann Coulter says. I personally dislike her but I fully acknowledge she has a right to her opinion and often makes intelligent arguments but also at times makes what I think are completely baseless statements. Regardless, for once I am finding myself agreeing with her to some degree..Let me explain.

    In a recent piece for, a conservative website, Ms. Coulter challenged the perception being spread across the net and media that the wave of "Occupy Wall Street" protests (and the many Occupy "insert city name/street name" protests spawned from it) is similar in function (though obviously not idea-wise) to the early Tea Party protests. She also discounts many of the protesters assertions that their protests are just like the Boston Tea Party of over 200 years ago (in that, breaking the law for a good cause is OK and should be celebrated).

    Firstly, she makes a good point about the difference in tactics between the "Occupying" protesters and the Tea Party protests of years ago. For one, the Tea Party protests always had permits and there were never any major conflicts with police/law enforcement agencies that ended in arrests (none that I know of actually).

    Secondly, when one watches videos of interviews with the Occupying protesters that they do give off a "hippie-like" attitude. Now I personally don't have much problem with that but you didn't really ever get that "vibe" from the early Tea Party protests/rallies. So while she may be right about how "hippie" these protests look, I don't see how relevant that is to how meaningful these protests are.

    Thirdly, while the Tea Party has never really had a truly unified leadership and therefore is a bit fractured, they do have a general set of beliefs and complaints: Federal government is too big and is spending too much of our money. The same can not yet be said by the "Occupying" protests. For one, they have been going on at some level for more than two weeks and they still have no general beliefs. The only belief that everybody there seems to agree on is that the rich are screwing everybody over and is too influential in the government.

    Another big problem with the "Occupying" protests is they were original started by a Canadian activist group Adbusters. And while Canada isn't exactly a far-away land, the fact that a foreign organisation started this protest movement doesn't sit that well with many, including myself. Not that I don't trust our polite neighbors to the North, just prefer they keep their politics to themselves and let us set up our own protest movements thank you very much!

    And then there's the comparison made by some interviewed that their protests (and their now rather constant clashes with police) are no different than the actual Boston Tea Party. The problem is, as Ms. Coulter points out, that event was not as celebrated in its day as it is today in America. At the time, the event was seen as going too far by many of Americans, including several Founding Fathers. So in that way I supposed the two events are similar, they were both controversial in their day but whether these "Occupying" protests will be as celebrated decades from now is hardly certain.

    Now as you might have expected, I didn't agree with everything in Ms. Coulter's recent article.

    For one, the title of her piece, "This is What a Mob looks like" is I think a pretty misleading one. Oddly enough, there is apparently no real conclusive definition of a "mob". Most just state it as a crowd of people, and nothing more. To me, a mob is a group of people who menace others in an attempt to advance some kind of purpose. A mob doesn't necessarily have to violent (at which they are more like a riot). However the biggest reason I don't see these people as being a "mob" is a mob generally has the support of the majority, hence the phrase "mob-rule" in which the majority are pushing their beliefs strongly against those who disagree with them. In fact the term Ochlocracy (Greek phrase of mob rule) is described as being the "rule of the general public" and differs from true democracy (rule of the people) in that ideology is heavily injected in it's actions. Technically, the "Occupying" protests don't see to have a majority of Americans supporting them and instead are something of a minority movement so far.

    Ms. Coulter went further when she was on FoxNews during the last few days in which she stated that these protests were much like the marches that proceeded previously revolutions such as the Nazis rise to power, Fascists rise in Italy, and Anti-Czarist forces at the beginning of the Russian Revolution and can only lead to one thing: totalitarianism. She does have a point that when Fascists rose to power in Germany and Italy, they were a minority element in their respective countries. However to compare these protesters to fascists in Europe in the 20's and 30's I think is not only far-fetched, it's downright hateful. Criticize these people all you want, but until they start preaching for racial purity and start carrying arms to intimidate their opponents, no such comparison is warranted and is just shows Coulter's hatred of the left-side of the political spectrum which ironically enough makes her just as bad as any protester denouncing Conservatives for being "evil" and "corrupt". More importantly, permits or not, these people are within their constitutional right to speak out against what they see as "evil" in America, in this case corporations.

    And in that sense, these protests and the Tea Party do have something in common. Both movements are speaking out for something they believe in, and are well within their rights to do so. The differences are the Tea Party has a more coherent message and rarely if ever clashed with local law enforcement.

    So at the end of the day, Ann Coulter does make some good points about the incoherent message of the "Occupying" protests and about how different this movement is compared to the Tea Party. However she takes this criticism too far when she compares her fellow American citizens to Nazis and Fascists of the 20's and 30's and proves to be as hypocritical as the people she is criticizing.

    I will soon post my own response to the Occupying Wall Street movement ..Stay tuned!

    Monday, October 3, 2011


    To say there's been a lot of talk lately about whether New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will run for President or not would be something of an understatement...It seems to be the only thing on political pundit's minds the last few days.

    And to be fair, there has been a lot of talk about Chris Christie possibly running for President for some time now, and up until last week Mr. Christie has told reporters and pundits alike that he isn't going to run...But now that seems to be changing.

    Not that I could blame Christie for reconsidering his future. Many, including Jay Cost of The Weekly Standard, have stated that while Christie doesn't necessarily have the same amount of experience as many of the other major GOP contenders, now is the arguably the perfect and possibly only time he will have to run and possibly win. Destiny is a tricky thing though..

    For one, Christie has the simple problem that by the time of the Presidential election (assuming he wins the nomination of course), he wouldn't have even served a full term as Governor of New Jersey which to some makes him look a bit too opportunistic and lacking in political experience (not that that has stopped Presidential hopefuls before).

    Secondly, Christie has the problem that while he does have a pretty strong "fan base", it is not certain that he can win over the majority of the GOP. While very popular for his tough attitude and no non-sense approach to politics, his specific positions on certain issues aren't usually popular with the more conservative branch of the GOP.

    Now personally, I'm a little conflicted about Governor Chris Christie. While I don't completely agree with all his political positions, I do like his attitude towards politics and think he would make a good President. The problem I have is I am not sure he can actually win the nomination. I have a distinct feeling that IF he does decide to run, some of his opponents will attempt to label him as "too moderate" for the GOP just as they've done with others. However at this point of political chaos in the GOP field (with no figure getting much more than 25% in recent polls) that it's possible Christie's entry could shake up the field enough for him to win over enough Republicans to win the nomination.

    Coincidentally, a poll was just released tonight by the Washington Post/ABC of both Republican-leaning persons and registered Republicans giving a pretty detailed look at the GOP field as of now. For example, it asked people who they would vote for in Chris Christie decided to run AND who they would vote for if he decided not to run. They did the same with Sarah Palin as they are the only two talked about possible GOP contenders who haven't made a final decision to run.

    When registered voters were asked if Sarah Palin and Chris Christie were in the GOP "horse race", who they would vote for, Christie received 10% of the vote, coming in fourth behind Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry (in that order). When Sarah Palin is removed from the equation, Christie grabbed 11% of the vote.

    However, as Rick Perry showed when he first entered the race, a new contender can significantly boost his/her numbers at least in the short term (also demonstrated by Rick Perry whose numbers have fallen out in the last week or so). Considering Christie has more of a fan-base than Rick Perry did before he ran (at least in my opinion), I think he could potentially hold on that likely bump in the polls and bump off the most recent "fad" candidate to get a jump in the polls, Herman Cain (who I sincerely hope is a fad/fluke since the man is a near complete idiot). How well he could do from there is anyone guess. Of course, this is only IF Christie decides to run..

    And that ladies and gentlemen, is the million dollar question..Should he run or should he not? Only Chris Christie knows, but either way, he needs to decide soon.

    Many thanks to Jay Cost for inspiring me to write this piece after my brief hiatus.
    Morning Jay: Christie Should Follow Woodrow Wilson—And Run The Weekly Standard

    Washington Post/ABC Poll:

    Today in Iowa..

    After taking a bit of a break, I've returned with a bit of political news from the Great state of Iowa.

    In recent weeks there has been alot of talk in Iowa about the need for major education reform for the state. Not too long ago, Iowa was not only a leader in the nation in education (in terms of student performance(, but also a leader in the world. However over the years this education edge has been dulled, and so the state's government has moved to do something about it.

    In that effort, Republican governor Terry Brandstad has released his education reform "Blueprint". I personally have read the entire document and it seems to be a good overall plan on paper and I thank Mr. Brandstad for proposing this plan to get the debate going.

    Education reform is something that has moved to the back-burner for politics today largely thanks to our struggling economy, but it should not be forgotten. Education reform is something the whole nation needs desperately, not just my home state of Iowa. I encourage my readers to read the plan for themselves and regardless of where you leave in the US, spout off to your local congressman/congresswoman about they are doing to reform our dysfunctional education system in America.

    Here is the "Blueprint", courtesy the Des Moines Register: