National Journal's latest survey shows broad support for the protest movement and Democrats' plan to make the rich pay more
At a time when protests have erupted across the country over a growing inequality of wealth and Congress is considering measures to impose a surtax on those earning more than $1 million annually, the public seems to be in a populist mood--one that's tempered by skepticism about Washington's ability to do anything about the grim economy.
A new survey shows that Americans overwhelmingly support the self-styled Occupy Wall Street protests that not only have disrupted life in Lower Manhattan but also in Washington and cities and towns across the U.S. and in other nations. Some 59 percent of adults either completely agree or mostly agree with the protesters, while 31 percent mostly disagree or completely disagree; 10 percent of those surveyed didn't know or refused to answer.
What's more, many people are paying attention to the rallies. Almost two-thirds of respondents--65 percent--said they've heard "a lot" or "some" about the rallies, while 35 percent have said they've heard or seen "not too much" or "nothing at all" about the demonstrations.
The results appear in the latest edition of the United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll.
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When it comes to the question of how to pay for the Democratic jobs bill, most respondents were more than willing to place a special burden on the wealthy. Those surveyed were asked about a possible 5 percent surtax on those earning more than $1 million annually. The idea got considerable discussion earlier this fall when Congress considered President Obama's jobs package. Senate Republicans united against the bill and were joined by some Democrats, making it impossible for the measure to pass in a chamber where 60-vote majorities have become the norm because of filibustering. Still, a whopping 68 percent of adults support the Democratic surtax to pay for the cost of their jobs plan. Only 27 percent opposed the tax, while 5 percent didn't know. Men and women split almost identically on the issue, and black non-Hispanics were more supportive of the surtax than white non-Hispanics, with 84 percent supporting the idea.