Wall Street discontent high but Occupy Wall Street largely unknown
October 24th, 2011
12:00 PM ET
2 years ago

Wall Street discontent high but Occupy Wall Street largely unknown

(CNN) – Although most Americans don't trust Wall Street, that hasn't translated into full support –or understanding– of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Despite large majorities who think that Wall Street bankers are greedy, overpaid and dishonest, four in ten don't have an opinion about the weeks-long protests, according to a new CNN/ORC International poll released Monday.

Among those who have an opinion, the public is split on how they feel about Occupy Wall Street. Thirty-two percent of Americans say they have a favorable view of the movement that has spread from Wall Street to Chicago, and that even cropped up at the most recent CNN presidential debate in Las Vegas. Twenty-nine percent of the nation says they have an unfavorable view of Occupy Wall Street.

Full results (pdf)

But opinions are clear about Wall Street itself. Eight in ten say Wall Street bankers are greedy, 77% say they're overpaid, and two-thirds say Wall Street bankers are dishonest, a number that has gone up by a third in roughly two decades.

Over time, opinions about the financial center of the U.S. have gotten worse. In the 1990s, only 30% of the country said they had no trust at all in Wall Street to do what is best for the economy, 24 percentage points lower than now.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has grown from a group of demonstrators on Wall Street who vocalized discontent over the economy, unemployment, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and myriad other issues into protests across the nation from Boston to Seattle.

The survey was conducted for CNN by ORC International among 1,007 adults by telephone from October 14-16, 2011. It has a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

- CNN Associate Producer Rebecca Stewart contributed to this report.

soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. SMSUSAF

    This small group of kids who are finding out it is hard to get ahead and Mother can not take care of you SOOOO grow up and work like the 99% of the rest of us

    October 24, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. Dazed and Confused

    They core group of these individuals were there to protest our way of life. They all want to live in a collective commune and reap the fruits of others labors.

    Will you please stop reporting on these idiots, they have had their 15 minutes, time to move on.

    October 24, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Robert jay

    I am sure with minmal effort you vcan find similar statistics from the 60's regrading the Vietnam war (or whatever BS name the government called it then) But the movement grew and the "people' won! – Bankers / brokers / and BS – bankers – what have you done to derve my money or my trust ? Brokers – what have you done to desrve my trust. I watch you cheat people everyday with no risk to yourself – the ame for bankers. You people are sickening – It isn't your wealth that disgusts people – get it right – it's you beligerrent arraogance and BS that people hate- "it a long road that has no curves- your day is coming!

    October 24, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. tasscnn

    These poor people's rage is a bit misguided. The real cause of their problems is President Obummer and washington establishment.

    October 24, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. Canuck

    SMSUSAF – so you're OK with what Wall street did – selling bad investments and simultaneously betting on their failure? Seems to me your anger is directed at the wrong group??

    October 24, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem with these large corporation is that they are only looking to make money (one of the functions of a corporatio). If these boards of directors and CEOs, CFOs and COOs would bother to do something more than try to make money, then they would be much better off because people wouldn't be looking at them and the mistakes (and corruption) that they do. We need these companies to think beyond money and to act more socially responsibly (better environmental actions to clean up or prevent messes; pay living wages or at least better ones; don't always look to move jobs to where the laws are lax).

    October 24, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. Ed Latey

    32% of voters [I assume they are voters (maybe not) anyway] 32% look at this protest as in favor of. That means 68% are not in favor of. That means twice a many are not in favor of this movement. Ask yourself, why? I know the answer, Do You? [Answer] It is not Wall Streets fault. If you want to protest, protest at the White House and at the Capital Building, that is were the responsibility belongs. Think of it this way, Wall Street does not make laws.! We cannot afford 4 more years of this President!

    October 24, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  8. HolyChrist

    To all that think OWS is just about handouts and laziness. Let us not forget the Lincoln's Gettysburg address, our government is supposed to be a, "government of the people, by the people, for the people". When the bubble burst back in 2007-2008, what was the first thing the government did? Went to the aid of banks and corporations... not the people. Now that the banks and corporations were bailed out, the people are still hurting. If the reason for bailing out the corporations was to "trickle down" to the people, where are the jobs? Why are people still losing their homes and going hungry? What is the plan that the Republicans brought to the table? Continued tax breaks and bail outs for the wealthy... and still no jobs. THAT is what they are protesting.

    October 24, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. ciabella

    Greedy - Yes - IPS does show there is a direct correlations between those laid off and CEO's/Executive Bonus pay, has nothing to do with Profit
    Corrupt - Yes - You look from Murdoch, to Mark Hurd, James Dimon with big Substantial Fines on companies - yes, and they always seem to hide behind the "I didn't know it was happening at my company" - Funny, they can take the bonus for a profit, but can't take the heat when it goes bad......
    Overpaid - Once again - How can you justify these salaries - -when once a quarter these guys go in and say, let's lay off another round –

    The worst group, all do seem to be members of the Business Roundtable - Coincidence?

    October 24, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. ELH37

    I travel all over the country for business and have found some version of "Occupy" in every city I have visited in the past few weeks. This isn't just a few disgruntled recent colege grads, it is a growing movement. Stay tuned...

    October 24, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. Frank - Ohio

    Most of these protestors are clueless. Most have no idea what they are protesting. Some have demands that are simply unreasonable or outright crazy. They have nothing better to do with their time. Unfortunately, now that the unions are getting involved, this protest will now escalate out of control. Union thug involvement is never good for anything. Not good for this “movement”. Not good for this country. Unions are the problem. Not Wall Street!

    October 24, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. ST

    "Although most Americans don't trust Wall Street, that hasn't translated into full support –or understanding– of the Occupy Wall Street movement".
    Mmmh! what a contradiction! Both who don't trust and those who are protesting are on the same category. They both share the same feelings. What is full support? Not being out there protesting does not mean they sympathise with Wall Street!

    October 24, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "This small group of kids "

    I know it's probably hard for you to understand, since you likely get all your news from places like CNN or Red State etc...places unlikely to report fairly and accurately about OWS, its composition and its message...but there are THOUSANDS of people AROUND THE WORLD joining in these protests...from London to NYC to Toronto and beyond. Go inform yourself. Ideology and your internal fantasy world aren't going to equip you with sufficient information to hold your own in a debate about this issue.

    October 24, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. easydoesit

    These folks should really be spending their days filling out job applications.

    October 24, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. Reggie from LA

    "...large majorities who think that Wall Street bankers are greedy, overpaid and dishonest...". I think that's all that really matters. The nation needs to understand how we got to where we are. I know some people hope and pray that it was caused by welfare and entitlement programs so they can continue to point that way and feel justified.. Up! Up, I say! Get off your knees because it started on Wall street. Actually, Bliley, Leech, Graham. OWS is in the right place, exercising their 1st Ammendment rights. They don't owe anyone the explanation of a focused agenda. They and the rest of us have been wronged. Wall Street villains have to be villified in some venue. Might just as well be right outside.

    October 24, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. Portland tony

    Apparently there are some people who feel strongly about the tremendous disparity of wealth here in America and around the world. Others don't like war etc.....bottom line is they feel all the bad guys are somehow connected through investment bankers on wall street. My guess is if people continue to be unemployed at current levels and losing their homes to foreclosures, you will see more people in the streets and they won't be making nice. Pretty soon just by being rich and flaunting it you will be.considered bad and "un American".

    October 24, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "32% of voters [I assume they are voters (maybe not) anyway] 32% look at this protest as in favor of. That means 68% are not in favor of."

    And yet the article says the following: "Twenty-nine percent of the nation says they have an unfavorable view of Occupy Wall Street."

    October 24, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. LOL

    I get the feeling that OWS is more about morality of decisions that are solely calculated by the bottom line. Is making money good, yes. Is making money due to extorting or taking advantage of people, lowering quality standards, or cutting corners good, NO and I think that is the primary basis of OWS is that corporations are more concerned with their money made rather than making a good socially responsible product.

    October 24, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Dazed and Confused wrote:
    They core group of these individuals were there to protest our way of life.
    -------------
    I wonder what "our way of life" means. It doesn't sound like anything 99% of us are familiar with.

    October 24, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. easydoesit

    The large majority of the protesters are college students that doesn't sound like people who have nothing. These are young people who have either been sent there by their parents or who have gotten loans from these horrible banks which employ hundreds of thousand americans.

    October 24, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. TomInRochNY

    Most of you have absolutely no idea what is happening with OWS. You are not aware of the shifts that the world and our sociaety has made in the past decade, even in the past few years. You will wake up on day and not recognize the world around you.

    October 24, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. LOL

    OWS is a prime example and a for-shadowing of what is to come. When we explode in population while advancing in technology at about the same level, a lot of jobs can be now done by machine instead of human hands. Thus, we don't need 5 people to make this product anymore but 1 robot and 1 quality assurance tester to make sure that it got put together correctly. You continue to explode the population and continue to reduce the work-force you are going to have a systemic problem in unemployment. Now add the fact that companies are always looking to do more with less and you can add that on top of the pile increasing the unemployment and neglecting our newly college grads with any course of employment. Then add on the fact that there is $1 Trillion in student loans, which they cannot pay off and you are looking at a HUGE issue here.

    October 24, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  23. GBfromOhio

    The percentage with an unfavorable view is the Tea Party crowd, angry that their movement is dying. For such a young movement to have such a high percentage of support (the balance being people who don't keep up on events, they will catch up soon), and the way it has gone global, is pretty amazing. Essentially, people want the uber wealthy to share some of the sacrifice (just pay the SAME rate as per the Clinton presidency) and for Wall Street not to gamble with the hard earned capital of our country. Reasonable request IMO.

    October 24, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. Tao

    The movement is coalescing every day. Overall it is a great discontentment with the disparaging gap in wealth and a political system that seems to protect the uber-rich and corporations while continually taking benefits and wages away from the average citizen.
    Begin by joining the thousands who are going to take their money out of large banks and put them in smaller credit unions. If many of us do this we can make a difference.

    October 24, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Ed Latey wrote:
    32% of voters [I assume they are voters (maybe not) anyway] 32% look at this protest as in favor of. That means 68% are not in favor of.
    ----------–
    Your math is terrible, but it is characteristic of the "you're either with us or against us" mindset of the neo-conservative movement. You are ignoring those who have not heard of the protests, which amounts to rougly 50% of Americans. You ignore those who have heard of it, but do not know enough to for an opinion. And, you choose to ignore the actual figure of 22% who object ot the OWS protestors.

    October 24, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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