The latest PRRI/RNS Religion News Poll has some fascinating findings about the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Tea Party movement. Two months after demonstrators took over New York’s Zuccotti Park to protest rising income inequality, the OWS movement equals the Tea Party in its popular support. Americans have nearly identical evaluations of the likely impact of both the OWS and the Tea Party movement, although views diverge strongly by party affiliation. A majority (59%) of Republicans say that the Tea Party shares their values, while 4-in-10 Democrats say the Occupy Wall Street movement shares their values. Millennials and the religiously unaffiliated are more likely to say that the OWS movement shares their values (34% and 38% respectively).
When asked more specifically about income inequality, most Americans (79%) agree that the gap between the rich and the poor has widened in the past 20 years. But when it comes to the idea of the American Dream – that if you work hard, you’ll get ahead – there is less of a consensus. Hispanics stand out as the most optimistic group: 52% of Hispanics say the American Dream still holds true, compared to 44% of whites and only 33% of black Americans. Nearly 6-in-10 (58%) black Americans say the American Dream once held true but not anymore. Men (50%) are significantly more likely than women (38%) to say the American Dream still holds true.
There are also substantial partisan divides, with Republicans more likely than Democrats to believe that the American Dream is still a reality. A majority (56%) of Republicans believe the American Dream still holds true, while 39% say it once held true but does not any more, and only 4% believe it never held true. In contrast, only 36% of Democrats believe the American Dream still holds true, and a majority (56%) of Democrats believe the American dream was once true but is not any more; 6% believe it never held true.
For the rest of the findings, check out our research page!