NJ Residents Support “Occupy Wall Street,” Believe Country Is Headed In Wrong Direction

STATE – New Jersey residents support the “Occupy Wall Street” protests by a 3-to-2 margin, according to a new Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind™ poll.

With 81 percent of New Jersey voters following the Occupy Wall Street protests, 62 percent say they’ve heard “a great deal” about them. Overall, New Jerseyans support the movement by a margin of 46 percent-29 percent.

“Sympathy for the Wall Street protesters is a direct reflection of voters’ general dissatisfaction with the direction of the country,” said Peter Woolley, a political scientist and director of the poll. “Something broke and voters know that whatever it was, it hasn’t been fixed.”

According to the poll, just 22 percent say the country is headed in the right direction, while two-thirds (67 percent) say the country is “on the wrong track.”

Sympathy for the “Occupy Wall Street” movement cuts across gender, age and education. Men and women, both young and old voters, high school-educated and those with graduate degrees support the protests in equal proportions.

Support for the movement does reflect partisan splits. Democrats support it by the wide margin of 6 to 1 (68-11), and Republicans oppose it by 2 to 1 (53-23). Similarly, self-described liberals support it by about 9 to 1 (70-8) and conservatives condemn it by almost 2 to 1 (50-28).

Voters in north Jersey, closer to Wall Street, are also more likely to support the movement than voters south of the Driscoll Bridge (51 percent compared to 42 percent).

However, 1 in 4 voters is unsure whether to support or oppose the protests (24 percent), and that substantial proportion of “don’t know” cuts across every demographic sub-group from party and ideology to age and education.

“The fact that so many people don’t know what to make of the protests is a reflection of the movement’s incoherence,” said Woolley. “The protest has no one message. It means whatever the beholders, pro or con, want it to mean,” he said. “But mostly it means voters are dissatisfied with the direction of the country.”

The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 800 registered voters statewide was conducted by telephone using both landlines and cell phones from Oct. 17 through Oct. 23, and has a margin of error of +/-3.5 percentage points.

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