Two Surveys Say Washington To Blame More Than Wall Street

Posted on October 19, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

by Caren Z. Turner

Two new surveys conducted over this past weekend – The Hill poll, and a USA Today/Gallup poll – found that while many Americans feel Wall Street bears a considerable amount of blame for the country’s economic woes, a greater number of Americans blame Washington more.

The USA Today/Gallup poll found that while 78 percent of people surveyed said Wall Street deserves “a great deal” or a “fair amount” of blame for the poor economy, 87 percent said the same about Washington.

The Hill poll showed that 33% blame Wall Street, where 56% blame Washington.

Both surveys were conducted in light of the fast-growing phenomenon of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests, an anti-capitalism, pro-equity populist movement which is now entering its second month of sustained demonstrations, and which has begun to spread to cities around the world.

The Hill Poll examined people’s views of the political implications of the OWS movement:

The split on the question of apportioning blame for the nation’s economic travails corresponds closely with voters’ political ideologies: More than 7 in 10 conservatives blamed Washington for the recession, while more than 5 in 10 liberals blamed Wall Street.

But self-identified centrists, importantly, appear to be siding with the right on economic issues, with nearly half blaming Washington for the recession.

The difference also reflected voters’ views of Obama: Among those who “strongly” or “somewhat” approve of the president, most blamed Wall Street, while those who “strongly” or “somewhat” disapprove of the president blamed Washington.

Interestingly, those who described themselves as “not sure” about Obama nonetheless blamed Wall Street over Washington by a more than two-to-one margin, 55 percent to 23 percent.

Both polls indicated that while most Americans are paying attention to the OWS protests, most don’t know enough about it or its objectives to offer an informed pro or con opinion.

Yet the OWS movement nonetheless has struck a distinct chord among Americans regardless of whether they support it, don’t support it, or are unsure. Why?

The answer perhaps goes back to a piece we wrote a couple weeks ago titled “Washington, China, Wall Street: No Fix And All Blame Over The U.S. Economy,” where we mentioned that the OWS movement is “symptomatic of the extreme frustration and anger circulating within the country which is inhibiting the clear and rational vision that is critically needed in order to cure the nation’s economic pain.”

The OWS movement is an embodiment of the collective national frustration. While it clearly has political and economic complaints, it does not – unlike the Tea Party, which is essentially a subset of the Republican party – have any partisan political identity or definitive agenda. It is a fluid, populist forum which defies both politics and big business, and is unmarried to either.

And amazingly, with the exception of scattered and isolated incidents, it is markedly and pervasively non-violent. Which ultimately demonstrates discipline, and therefore order.

And it is this structure from the seeming chaos that doubtless is what has generated such intense national interest: for all its perceived disorder, OWS nonetheless embodies what is so dreadfully absent in our own government.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health, and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at

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