Fall 2011 Articles

Students Divided on Occupy Wall Street

Few Following the OWS Movement

Only about one-in-five N.C. State students say they approve of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement.  Yet, roughly the same percentage (21%) says they oppose the movement.  For comparison, slightly more students say that they disapprove (26%) of the Tea Party movement than approve of it (18%). Similarly, however, a majority of students claim that they did not know enough about the OWS Movement (60%) or the Tea Party Movement (57%) to form an opinion. Female students reported knowing less about the two movements than male students, with almost seven-in-ten female students (69%) compared to half of male students (50%) reporting that they didn’t know enough to form an opinion on the OWS movement. Regarding the Tea Party movement, half of male students (49%) said that they didn’t know enough to form an opinion about it, while nearly two thirds of female respondents (64%) said they didn’t know enough.

[table id=1 column_widths=”50px|20px|20px|20px” /]

[table id=2 column_widths=”50px|20px|20px|20px” /]

While national news might is covering both movements, particularly OWS of late, fully 72% of students say that they have not been following the OWS movement (“not too closely” or “at all”). Hardly any students (4%) reported following the OWS movement “very closely”.  This contrasts with a recent PEW Research Center report that found 13% Americans naming the anti-Wall Street protestors as the story they were following most closely. Students who were more closely following OWS were also more likely to express approval of it. Nearly six-in-ten students (58%) who said they were “very closely” following the OWS movement approved of it, while just 22% of these students disapproved of the movement. Also, the more closely students paid attention to OWS, the more likely they were to offer assessments about it. Only one-in-five students (22%) following the OWS movement very closely, for example, said they didn’t know enough about it to form an opinion. Conversely, 90% of respondents said they had “no opinion” about OWS if they also reported not following it “at all”.  

Tea Party Less Satisfied with Obama

Fully 60% of students who approve of OWS also approve of the way President Obama is doing his job; just 22% of these students disapprove. Overall, just 30% of N.C. State students approve of the way President Obama is doing his job, and he fares worse among tea Party supporters.  Just one-in-ten students (10%) who approve of the Tea Party movement approve of the way President Obama is doing his job. An overwhelming majority of these students (81%) disapprove.

[table id=3 column_widths=”30%|30%|30%” /]

[table id=4 column_widths=”30%|30%|30%” /]

Occupy Wall Street Supporters More Optimistic; Yet, Both Groups Pessimistic Overall

Among students who approve of the OWS movement, optimism about the general direction of the country is somewhat higher than among those who approve of the Tea Party movement. Yet, both group’s supporters are overall quite pessimistic. A quarter (25%) of students who approve of the Occupy Wall Street movement say that the county is generally headed in the right direction, while just one-in-ten students (11%) who approve of the Tea Party movement say the same thing. Yet, 44% of students who approve of OWS still say the country is headed in the wrong direction, and eight-in-ten (78%) students who approve of the Tea Party movement say the same thing.

Fall 2011 Top Line Results 

{pullquote}Note on Methodology: The Pack Poll at NC State University was fielded between Nov. 1 –  Nov. 8, 2011. Responses came from 1108 partial and 970 completed interviews with NCSU undergraduates.  A random sample of 5,000 students’ email was used to contact potential respondents, who were invited to take the on-line survey using a software program called Qualtrics. The survey has a margin of sampling error of approximately plus or minus 3 percentage points.  For smaller subsamples within the survey, the margin of sampling error is larger. In addition to sampling error, factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls.{endpullquote}

Leave a Reply