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.

“We are the 99 percent”: The stories behind the economic crisis

I think they want to let others know that they’re out there, that they exist, that their problems exist. That they’re not just some statistic compiled in a spreadsheet, that they’re real human beings with real human challenges.

…the founder of the blog We Are the 99 Percent tells Mother Jones. The blog’s title has become a rallying cry for the Occupy movement that is spreading from New York to other cities.