Wall Street discontent high but Occupy Wall Street largely unknown
October 24th, 2011
12:00 PM ET
11 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. Fred54

    Sure!!! Yesterday 37% were actively in favour, but now today the protests are "Largely Unknown"????
    Sounds they are getting some real traction and the MSM is trying to distract people yet again..

    October 24, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. sowned

    67% of NYC residents support these people according to a recent poll.

    Anyone with negative comments – what are you so afraid of? This great nation was founded by patriots who rejected the status quo and gave everyone a voice.


    thats why I gave them money

    October 24, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Bob

    Interesting that these folks target Wall Street banks. Payday loan stores and Pawn shops are totally unregulated and are the true shisters of the group that is protesting. The average interest rate is 41.4%. There are no regulations on fees charged. This is a multi billion dollar industry that goes unchecked and targets the poor, the college student, and the just graduated college student. I am sure this OWS group would say leave these alone.

    October 24, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. ponyboy1

    It's a pity that after a month some people are either ignorant , or small minded. Granted the big media for the most part have skewered the OWS efforts as that they don't have a purpose. There is a long list of grievances ranging from the big banksters, to the big vote buying money to environmental issues to name a few. Before you throw stones, spend some time online checking other reporting data. These are our new patriots, they want change to the status quo. Look up the "myths about OWS" See for yourself...you cannot be complacent..!

    October 24, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. Jay

    Wait a minute...I thought they represented the 99%? I guess it's less cool to call yourself the 32%.

    October 24, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. Steveo

    @Marc Faure

    "Anti trust legislation is needed and if you want the protesters to protest outside a politicians house on top of Wall Street, I suggest the Bush Ranch, and Gingrich, Hassert and Tom Delay's front lawns. Put blame where blame is due for once".
    So, not a single Dem is culpable, not one? Not Clinton who got banks to lower loaning standards so everyone can have a house? Not Barney Frank and Chris Dodd who oversaw the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac? Not one Dem? Amazing! Partisanship is causing many to grow blind and ignorant of the truth!

    October 24, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. BD70

    I guess the OWS is sick of living in debt and under the greedy thumb of those in charge of the money.

    October 24, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. James Harrison - Saint Petersburg, FL

    How is it that the TEA PARTY who represents a very small minority of Americans is given their own Presidential Debate while the Occupy movement that shares the same views as the majority of Americans don't even get a little respect. I guess it would be crazy to assume that the corporations that own ALL of media are trying to blackout or discredit the 99%. Hmmmmmmmm..................

    October 24, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. Angry

    Largely Unkown?


    What's so hard to understand?

    October 24, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. Larry L

    In every nation where the poor loses hope and an elite class takes control of the government the result is revolution. Due to the strength of numbers and nothing to lose the poor normally win that revolution and often create a government more oppressive (especially for the wealthy) than the one they displaced. The wealthy who act in time take their money, move away to a place that wants them and start buying politicians in their new home. Many have come here... The Republican Party now represents the elite class and constantly works at making the playing field uneven. The common people in America are beginning to get focused and organized. Wouldn't it would be great if we could pay attention to history and avoid the probable outcome of our current trajectory?

    October 24, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Marc Faure

    Nobody is listening? Then why have so many OSW's popped up in other cities and other countries.

    October 24, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. iowajoe56

    I agree with most of Marc Faure's post (1:52 pm) with the exception being who to protest. Bush, Gingrich, Hassert, and Delay are no longer in power. We need to make sure that the current congress is paying attention. John B and the majority party needs to pay attention to what the 99% is saying concerning JOBS, responsible finance laws, and having a fair stake in the middle class. It shouldn't be a dream for those willing to work, which is most of the people in the U.S..

    October 24, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Leaf on the Wind

    Just the fact that there is such a thing as a "wall street banker" is just wrong. Bankers and brokers should not be in the same business, and the fact that they often are, due to decades of deregulation that began under Reagan and continued under Bush Sr, Clinton, and Bush Jr. is what caused the credit bubble to first exist, then burst and put us into the serious depression we're in now. Deregulation and allowing public and private pension funds to invest in CDOs Bush Jr. is what caused the credit bubble to first exist, then burst and put us into the serious depression we're in now. Deregulation and allowing public and private pension funds to invest in CDOs (where subprime mortgages were combined with things like car loans and student loans and sold as stocks), and the ratings companies that gave these CDOs AAA ratings when they were actually junk, is what caused this whole mess.

    I understand the occupiers and share their frustration, but I don't know what they think the occupation will accomplish.

    October 24, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. dlh111

    OWS is a very misguided group. They're right to focus on Wall Street; Wall Street greed is what got us into this. However, if you want to "hit em where it hurts", this is not the way to do it. Instead, STOP doing business w/ Wall Street bankers and switch to credit unions. Credit Unions are much more "for the people" they're serving.

    Remember Banks cater to their investors and to people whom they can make money from. They're not interested in doing things in your best interest. This is why we need places like Credit Unions, to balance the greed out. Credit Unions are safe and reliable. They have their downsides (mostly convenience), but, if you want to get back at the bankers, pull your money out and stop doing business with them.

    October 24, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. Ilya

    The lady that says, "people should be able to print their own money," typifies the IQ level of these protestors. Most don't even know why they are protesting, or if they do have a reason it is similar to the one already stated. Looks like more people with their hand out for the government dole to me. Want something given to them without having to do anything to earn it.

    October 24, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. Peace

    I would like to advice the Movement what to do in order to be successful. Instead of assembling together dancing and singing day and night, just get out mobilise people, help those who have not registered to vote, explain them your goals and came and gather together in the evening. If you can do this from now until Oct. 2012; I can assure you will emerge as winners.

    October 24, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity, by legislating the wealth out of prosperity."

    You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the nation's wealth towards the already wealthy and promising that "it will trickle down." THAT is what we have been doing, not the silly straw man you're arguing about. Besides, nobody is even arguing that we shoudl legislate "the wealth out of prosperity"...whatever that strange word salad conceptual mish-mash is supposed to mean.

    October 24, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. rexedie

    those who are critical of the "OW" movement ....are the same people who complain about everything else...and are to conformist and closed minded to do anything of intelligent value to even try..... they would complain... because ...the "ocean is wet"..... in the meantime.... truthfully.... america and what it was designed to be...is dead.... the corporations own the government.... (run by the pentagon and war manufacturers).....just waiting for the next lie to create the excuse of war.... the president is powerless....the senate and congress are sellouts.... the supreme court is a joke... but god bless those who are at least standing together to dissent.... by the time people "wake up".....it will be a complete ...."police state".....

    October 24, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. HoustonSteve

    This proves the point that most people DO NOT like these protestors nor their socialist muddled "message" (if you can even call it a single message). The data are very clear. Around 70% of the public think that Wall Street are a bunch of crooks BUT ALSO 70% either don't have an opinion or are against the occupy protests. If that isn't a messaging problem for these hippies, show me what is.

    October 24, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  20. ricky

    REP has teabeggers. Now DEM have Occupy Wall Street.

    October 24, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  21. Steveo

    OWS democracy in action! Don't forget it was protest that birthed this nation! Just as long as it isn't violent, I 'm all good with folks exercising their 1st amendment rights! Can't get anymore ":American" than that!

    Womens sufferage
    Civil rights

    All birthed by protest!

    October 24, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. JustMe

    Yeah and I guarantee you that every single one of those 29% that have an unfavorable opinion of it, watch Faux News on a regular basis.

    October 24, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. v_mag

    Mark from Beantown has all his GOP capitalism talking points down, doesn't he? The fact that they are theoretical and do not take reality into account doesn't bother him. If you want to look at the most successful countries in the world, the countries where people are not in poverty, where government works for the people, as any government should, you will find that right at the top are the socialist countries. Norway, for example. There are rich people in Norway, and they pay their share for the wealth they enjoy. In the U.S., the wealthy do not pay their share, and they hold absolute control over the middle class and poor. In socialist countries, the middle class is protected by the government from the rapacity andy tyrany of the rich.

    Mark is concerned that the rich will have their wealth taken from them. He is not concerned with the obvious reality: the middle class has had its wealth taken from it by the rich, as can be see from the current distribution of wealth and the fact that income for the rich has gone up dramatically while income has decreased for the middle class. The government in the U.S. has facilitated this transfer of wealth to the rich through tax policy and decreasing regulation. It has done so because the wealthy now own the government and hire the politicians with bribes called "campaign contributions".

    October 24, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. Handofdoom

    President Obama's policy , what policy, " the one to U.S Citizens totally bankrupt " ! Obama should keep out of things !

    October 24, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    SMSUSAF wrote:
    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
    Maybe "this small group of kids" is part of the 9% long term unemployed. Those kids are those whom Rep. Paul has identified as being part of the actual unemployment of 20%, which reflects the depression he claims started in 2000.

    The job market is extremely tight. Most of the largest employers are sitting upon trillions of cash. Another tax cut isn't going to motivate them to create a job. Product demand would, and 99% of demand comes from the middle class and the poor.

    October 24, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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