These numbers from Public Policy Polling were taken before the big OWS eviction in New York (and other places):
The Occupy Wall Street movement is not wearing well with voters across the country. Only 33% now say that they are supportive of its goals, compared to 45% who say they oppose them. That represents an 11 point shift in the wrong direction for the movement's support compared to a month ago when 35% of voters said they supported it and 36% were opposed. Most notably independents have gone from supporting Occupy Wall Street's goals 39/34, to opposing them 34/42.
Voters don't care for the Tea Party either, with 42% saying they support its goals to 45% opposed. But asked whether they have a higher opinion of the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street movement the Tea Party wins out 43-37, representing a flip from last month when Occupy Wall Street won out 40-37 on that question. Again the movement with independents is notable- from preferring Occupy Wall Street 43-34, to siding with the Tea Party 44-40.
It is woth noting that the same poll also showed that Americans are still very concerned with wealth inequality. So it's the movement itself, rather than the message it already has succeeded in fostering, that is gaining disapproval.
And why? It's not to hard to figure out. Digby states the obvious:
All over the country people are hearing that the Occupiers are animals who are masturbating in public and shitting in the streets. The local news is luridly portraying the protests as hotbeds of crime infested with lunatics and drug addicts.
That stuff isn't disseminated just for kicks. It's done to poison the minds of the public before they have a chance to identify with the protesters.
I know that liberals don't want to see this in those culture war terms, but there are a whole lot of others who can't see these things any other way.
So true. The demonization by the right-wing media is pretty salient. The reality is that the media still decides what we think, and the far-right media works much, much harder at driving that consensus than the centrist press does. The centrist press keeps the coverage bland, and then the Murdoch/talk radio axis declares its fatwas, and those decide what we think.
The Occupy movement doesn't grasp that it needs to do everything it can to minimize the damage from right-wing-media demonization. Or, if they do, they haven't found an effective counter.