Poll: Blue-Collar Whites Back Occupy Wall Street

We’ve heard a lot of talk from Republicans about how Occupy Wall Street protesters are “hippies” and “left-wing nutjobs” that won’t connect with mainstream, “real” Americans — which in politics means working-class whites.

Except a new poll from Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania, surveying that state’s voters, finds non-college-educated whites back the movement and especially support its goals (hat-tip to Greg Sargent at the Washington Post):

Franklin and Marshall is out with a new poll gauging attitudes towards the protests. Overall, 57 percent of Pennsylvania voters say they would be very or somewhat likely to vote for a candidate who supports the movement’s goals, versus only 33 percent who say the opposite. And a plurality of 49 percent generally supports the protests, versus 37 percent who oppose it.

I called Franklin and Marshall and got a breakdown of the data among non-college-educated whites, the category polling experts view as a reliable guide to blue collar white sentiment. The breakdown:

* A majority of non-college whites, 53 percent, say they would be very or somewhat likely to support a candidate who supports the goals of the protesters, versus only 33 percent who wouldn’t be likely to do that.

* A plurality of non-college whites, 41 percent, supports the protesters, versus 39 percent who don’t.

As Sargent cautions, this is just one poll, but national surveys have shown the OWS cause to be a popular one, and Republicans are kidding themselves if they think some college kids protesting the crushing burdens of student loan debt are going to bail them out from having to address skyrocketing income inequality and an economy that’s working only for the wealthiest Americans (whom their tax plans would give an ever greater leg-up).


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