The Public Religion Research Institute has a great little research note up comparing Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street supporters according to a range of demographic variables. Since support for each movement is identical (23 percent), the chart reads horizontally as well as vertically; that is, a given percentage of TP supporters is numerically identical to the same percentage of OWS supporters and vice versa.
The accompanying text plus Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux’s post cover much of the necessary territory, but let me add a few thoughts.
First, PRRI’s data suggests that there is virtually no overlap between TP and OWS support. What we’ve got is a snapshot of two equal and opposite populist impulses, ones that line up mostly but not entirely along the usual ideological/partisan lines. Thus, while TPers are overwhelmingly Republican and OWStreeters are overwhelmingly Democratic, OWS has twice as many conservative supporters as the TP has
liberal ones, and twice the number moderates. This suggests that the cry of the 99 percent appeals to a wider ideological spectrum than the no tax, small government mantra.
On the religious front, it should come as no surprise that evangelicals line up behind the TP, the unaffiliated behind OWS. But having only 12 percent unaffiliated among its supporters should give the lie to the image of the TP as chock-full of Ayn Rand libertarians.
Finally, it’s worth noting that OWS is doing disproportionately better with African Americans (16 percent, compared to 12.6 percent of the population), disproportionately worse with Hispanics (11 percent versus 16.3 percent). While this may simply point to the fact that African Americans are more Democratic than Hispanics, it suggests that the strategy of OWS (reported by NY Mag’s John Heileman) to steer clear of attacking President Obama in order to avoid forfeiting black support has worked. At least so far. As Amelia suggests, overt OWS anti-Obamism may now be on the rise.