Political Report, November 2011

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Wall Street protesters gather in New York's financial district, Sept. 26, 2011

Article Highlights

  • POLL: Views of financial institutions, banks, Wall Street at 40-year low

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  • Americans blame government more than Wall Street for country's economic woes

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  • 60 percent of Americans know someone who has lost a job in the last 6 months

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Political Report, November 2011

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Negative views of banks, financial institutions, and Wall Street are at their highest level in nearly 40 years. But is Occupy Wall Street (OWS) gaining traction? The November issue of AEI's Political Report looks at the early polling evidence.

  • Early polls show more support for the movement than opposition, but many Americans have not made up their minds, and public interest in OWS does not appear to be growing.
  • Americans blame the federal government more than Wall Street for the economic downturn.
  • Although people believe wealth should be more evenly distributed, they are not confident that government should do more to reduce income differences.
  • More of us than in the past believe the United States is a nation of "haves" and "have-nots," and fewer now say they are among the "haves."
  • Many Americans have been out of a job for more than two years. In a change in views, people now see those cases as the fault of the economy, not the job seekers themselves.

Also in Political Report:

  • Republicans want presidents with character; Democrats say intelligence is most important.
  • How popular is the initiative process in California after 100 years?
  • Steve Jobs's death garnered significant media attention, but not as much as the deaths of Princess Diana, John F. Kennedy Jr., or crocodile hunter Steve Irwin.

Karlyn Bowman is a senior fellow and Andrew Rugg is a research assistant at AEI

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