October 18, 2011
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Anti-Wall Street protests have won broad support among New York City voters, who would overwhelmingly favor tougher regulations on the financial industry, new poll results showed on Monday.
Sixty-seven percent of those who responded to a Quinnipiac University survey said they agreed with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, who are upset that banks were allowed to earn huge profits after being bailed out during the recession, while average Americans remained under financial strain.
An even wider margin, 87 percent, agreed with the protesters’ right to camp out in Lower Manhattan, as long as they obeyed the law. The movement began staging rallies more than a month ago.
Support for the protests was split down party lines, with 81 percent of the Democrats saying they backed them, while only 35 percent of Republicans said so.
The protests have spread across the country and moved overseas over the weekend. While most rallies were relatively small, violence flared in Rome where tens of thousands of people came into the streets.
The movement’s focal point, however, has been New York, where protests have been largely peaceful. Still, less than half of those surveyed approved of the way police have handled the demonstrations, after several episodes in which force has been used on protesters.
The largest block of voters, 37 percent, blamed former President George W. Bush’s administration for the nation’s economic problems, while 21 percent blamed banks. Seventy-three percent said they would support tougher government regulation.
The Oct 12-16 poll of 1,068 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
(Reporting by Paul Thomasch; Editing by Paul Simao.)