New York (CNN) - New York City residents overwhelmingly approve of the month-old Occupy Wall Street movement centered in lower Manhattan, according to a Quinnipiac University poll out Monday.
Almost three to one –67% to 23%– of those questioned say they agree with the views of the protesters who demonstrate daily near the city's financial nucleus of Wall Street.
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Party identification is a strong predictor of attitudes toward the movement, the poll found. Democrats agree with the protesters by a staggering 81% to 11% margin, while independents back them by a less lopsided 58% to 30%. Republicans disagree with the protesters, 58% to 35%.
Backing for the protesters was highest in Brooklyn and lowest in Staten Island, though in all five boroughs support exceeded 60%.
Majorities of Democrats, independents and Republicans alike said that protesters should be able to stay and demonstrate as long as they want. "It's a free country. Let them keep on protesting as long as they obey the law," said Quinnipiac University Polling Institute director Maurice Carroll, summarizing poll respondents' views.
A common criticism of Occupy Wall Street is that it lacks a cohesive message. But 72% of those questioned said they understand protesters' views "fairly well" or "very well."
Dustups between protesters and police have made repeated headlines in New York. City residents are evenly divided, 46% to 45%, in their opinion of the NYPD's handling of the demonstrators, though they approve of the NYPD's overall job performance 61% to 33%.
An ORC International Caravan Poll conducted last week found less pervasive support for Occupy Wall Street on the national level. Fifty-four percent of respondents in that poll had no firm opinion of the movement, while 27% agreed with protesters and 19% opposed.
The Quinnipiac University poll surveyed 1,068 registered voters by telephone from October 12th to October 16th. It has a sampling error of +/- 3 percent.