Residents Divided on Occupy Movement, Poll Finds
North Carolinians are evenly divided on their views of the Occupy Wall Street movement, according to the latest Elon University poll.
Protesters around the country continue making news with demonstrations against large banks and a political system that many of the activists say is broken.
Closer to home, a group will hold an "Occupy Broad Street" demonstration Dec. 10 in the downtown park. It is modeled after the national movement.
Of those familiar with Occupy Wall Street, 45 percent hold an unfavorable opinion of the movement, and the same number report a favorable opinion. Thirty-two percent of respondents consider themselves supporters of the movement, and 26 percent consider themselves opponents.
The poll, conducted last month, surveyed 529 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.26 percentage points. The sample is of the population in general, with numbers that include both land lines and cellular phones.
When asked whether the movement is aligned with a political party, 53 percent believe that Occupy Wall Street is aligned more with the Democratic Party, 5 percent believe it is aligned with the Republican Party, and 34 percent said the movement is not aligned with a party
On another subject close to home in Moore County, North Carolinians are not paying much attention to news surrounding "fracking" as a means of extracting natural gas in the state. Twenty percent of respondents say they paid "a great deal" or "some" attention to news on the issue. At the same time, 53 percent indicate they have paid "not very much" attention or "none at all" to the news.
"Despite recent media coverage, few people are following this topic," Morgan said. "While the issue may be drawing increased attention from policy makers, it has not yet filtered down into citizen level discussion."
Meanwhile, four out of five North Carolinians are familiar with the tea party movement, and of those who are familiar, 42 percent say that they have a favorable opinion of the movement with 46 percent expressing an unfavorable opinion.
Three out of 10 respondents identify themselves as opponents of the tea party, but nearly as many consider themselves supporters.
"While the tea party has certainly emerged as a political player on the national scene, at this point it remains uncertain whether it will have a significant impact here in North Carolina this coming election year," said Betty Morgan, director of the university's Center of Public Affairs.
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