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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 10/12/2011

Public ire hits Wall Street, and government

The fledgling Occupy Wall Street protests tap into a deep vein of public animosity toward the country’s major financial institutions, one that is on par with the deep negativity aimed at Washington, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Public distrust of the federal government is growing, and well documented. In the new poll, more than two-thirds of Americans say they view Washington unfavorably, including nearly half who hold “strongly” unfavorable impressions. These sentiments spike higher among Republicans, and continue to fuel the tea party political movement.

But there’s just as much negativity directed at Wall Street financial institutions. Fully 70 percent of those polled view such firms unfavorably, with strongly unfavorable mentions outnumbering strongly favorable ones by 8 to 1.

For political independents, there’s little love for either one: similar proportions — around seven in 10 — view government and Wall Street unfavorably. Most, 55 percent view both negatively.


Most Democrats assess government negatively, but Wall Street draws even more dislike (59 percent and 79 percent unfavorable, respectively). Those numbers flip among Republicans, with 83 percent holding unfavorable views of government; 60 percent of Wall Street.

Among conservative Republicans, 68 percent have strongly unfavorable views of Washington. Some 56 percent of liberal Democrats are intensely negative toward Wall Street financial institutions.

In comparison to government and Wall Street, another frequent whipping post — the national news media — fares relatively well in this poll.

Most— 53 percent — view the news media unfavorably, but 42 percent view it favorably, including a slim majority of Democrats.

A summertime Pew poll asked people what outlets come to mind when thinking about “news organizations.” More than six in 10 mentioned a cable television network like CNN or the Fox News Channel. More than a third highlighted network television, such as ABC News or NBC News. Five percent mentioned a national newspaper; 4 percent a local one.

This Post-ABC poll was conducted Oct. 5 to 9, among a random national sample of 1,000 adults. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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By  |  07:00 AM ET, 10/12/2011

 
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