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Occupy Wall Street: Most N.Y. voters back protests, poll finds

October 17, 2011 | 11:24 am

A majority of New York City voters agree with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators according to a Quinnipiac University poll

Two-thirds of New York City voters agree with the views of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators who have taken over a Lower Manhattan park to protest corporate greed, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday.

By 67% to 23%, respondents said they agreed with the group's views, and by an 87%-to-10% margin, they said that the protests, which have drawn thousands to take part in the demonstrations and led to hundreds of arrests, are acceptable, according to the poll.

Politically, majorities of Democrats and independent voters agreed with the demonstrators, while a majority of Republicans disagreed, the poll found. Democrats backed the protests by 81% to 11%, while independents split 58% to 30%. Republicans opposed the protests by a 58%-to-35% margin, but even those identifying themselves as Republicans agreed by 73% to 23% that the protesters had a right to remain in Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of the demonstrations.

"It's a free country. Let them keep on protesting as long as they obey the law, New Yorkers say overwhelmingly," Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement accompanying the poll results. "Critics complain that no one can figure out what the protesters are protesting. But seven out of 10 New Yorkers say they understand and most agree with the anti-Wall Street views of the protesters."

By 61% to 28%, respondents also said they backed an extension of New York state's "millionaire's tax," a surtax on those earning at least $200,000 annually. The tax is set to expire at the end of the year.

“New Yorkers, even Republicans, back the Wall Street protesters on at least two things they’re talking about, a get-tough attitude toward banks and Wall Street and continuation of the state’s 'Millionaire’s Tax,'" Carroll said in the statement.

The poll was based interviews from Oct. 12 to Oct. 16 with 1,068 registered voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.


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Photo: A sightseeing bus passes by the Occupy Wall Street protest in Zuccotti Park in New York's financial district. Credit: Justin Lane / EPA