The Christian Science Monitor, a periodical that was founded on the principal of non-sensationalist journalism has an interesting piece on the demographics of the Occupy Wall Street Crowd in Zuccotti Park in New York City. While they are not the only “occupy” movement, they are the group closest to Wall Street.
Who is Occupy Wall Street? After six weeks, a profile finally emerges. [Bullet points are mine]
Gloria Goodale, Christian Science Monitor, 1 November 2011 (Hat tip: NC).
· 60 percent voted for Obama
· 73 percent disapprove of Obama’s job performance
· 97 percent disapprove of congress’ performance
· 42 percent will for the Democratic candidate in their U.S. House District
· Less than 2% will vote for the Republican candidate in their U.S. House District
· 78% think the economy has gotten worse
· 75% view the Tea Party unfavorably
· The average age is 33
The article then discusses financing.
Another somewhat surprising aspect of the movement regards its financing. According to the online pay site wepay.com, its donation numbers show that the overwhelming online support comes from “average, middle-class donors,” says wepay.com chief executive officer Bill Clerico.
“The vast majority of those giving have incomes in the $50,000 to $100,000 range,” he says. The median donation amount is $22, while the average rises to $60, which shows that there are a few “very large donations sending the average amount higher,” adds Mr. Clerico. To date, his company has processed more than $325,000 in donations to Occupy Wall Street.
They did not make note of a large group of homeless people within the crowds. Given the heavy play made of this issue at the partisan (the other way) Fox News, one wonders if this isn’t at least in part a “tempest in a teapot” issue.
If I were to characterize them, I would call them relatively young democrat leaning swing voters. Thirty-three does not sound particularly old, but with all the advance degrees and internships needed to get going in the high-pay atmosphere of New York City, a lot of these people have spent a lot of time working toward high paying positions only to be disappointed. A typical Lawyer isn’t even going to get their first real job until they are 27.
The income distribution of donors indicates that most of them are college educated with a leaning toward advanced degrees. I imagine that a number of them fit the profile of the small donors that contributed to Obama’s first presidential campaign, but are holding back now.
The commonality with the Tea Party, besides the overlap with the anti-corporate bailout meme, to my mind is that you have the enfranchised middle class demonstrating for its own perceived benefit. The older Tea Party did not want to disband Social Security payments, and the younger Occupiers want student debt relief. Note that both of these items are transfer payments: Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme after three years of payment, and debt relief is going to go against government (tax payer) backed loans.
Given the emphasis on benefits, both groups appear to be under the impression that we can continue to have the expansionary (mathematically challenged) compounding growth economics that have held sway for the very short period of time known as the industrial revolution. They view the machine as temporarily broken, rather than being permanently out (or starved) of fuel.
Maybe they are correct.