What does the public think about the Occupy movement?

Now that demonstrations under the motto “Occupy Wall Street” have lasted for more than two months, signs of fatigue are everywhere. Majors and police chiefs want protesters to move out of their encampments, and have forcefully removed them in some cities. Nearby businesses and residents complain that the protesters disrupt their customers or their commute. Commenters on websites like WJLA, where I work, like to describe the protesters as “dirty hippies” who should “just get a job.”

Tensions have flared within the movement, too. The consensus-based form of decision-making the protesters use “doubled in time but halved in efficiency,” Andrew Katz writes in the Guardian. “Other issues in the park, including a sexual assault and reported drug use, as well as infighting between some of the more than 80 working groups also flared.”

Still, a recent poll by the New York Times and CBS News found that almost half of the public thinks the sentiments of the movement generally reflect the views of most Americans. The flipside is that more than half of respondents in another survey said neither the Occupy movement nor the Tea Party at the other end of the political spectrum represent their views. Interestingly, the Tea Party appears to have a more partisan base of support, the head of the company that conducted that poll told the Huffington Post.

“Support for the Tea Party is more intensely concentrated among Republicans, but support for the OWS movement is less intense among Democrats and more evenly spread among other groups,” Robert Jones said.

To show specific attitudes, New York Times has created a fantastic infographic that aggregates comments and shows them along two axes: Whether people support the Occupy movement’s goals, and whether they support its tactics. The graphic captures a range of sentiments people have toward the protesters in a way that a simple poll question does not.

Click on the image above to see the full graphic, and on individual squares in the grid to read the comments below. Hat tip to FlowingData.

Mapping the world, one tweet and picture at a time

My well-documented obsession with maps continues. Eric Fischer has posted some wonderful visulizations of tweets and images uploaded from around the world. “See something or say something” shows pictures posted to Flickr as orange dots, and tweets sent as blue dots. White spots mark places with both tweets and pictures.

It’s fascinating how these data points map cities and regions, with arteries and sights showing up clearly. Also interesting is the difference between regions: While Europe shows up heavily photographed, South American and Asian cities show more blue dots for tweets. I wonder if that’s because a different photo sharing service is used there? It also could be that camera phones aren’t as widespread, even though I would think that’s unlikely. Take a look at the whole set.

Tokyo lights up with tweets and pictures. Image by Eric Fischer.

Another of Fischer’s visualizations answers the question of whether photos are posted mostly by tourists or by locals as well. For Washington, D.C., you can clearly see the top tourist spots: The National Mall with its monuments, Arlington cemetery and the zoo show up bright red, while the rest of the city is owned by the residents.

Photos in Washington taken by locals (blue) and tourists (red). Image by Eric Fischer.