We keep hearing that Dems who whisper a word of support for Occupy Wall Street risk alienating blue collar whites in key swing states — voters who tend to find outsized protest tactics culturally alienating.
But some new polling suggests that in Pennsylvania, at least, this simply isn’t happening.
Franklin and Marshall is out with a new poll gauging attitudes towards the protests. Overall, 57 percent of Pennsylvania voters say they would be very or somewhat likely to vote for a candidate who supports the movement’s goals, versus only 33 percent who say the opposite. And a plurality of 49 percent generally supports the protests, versus 37 percent who oppose it.
I called Franklin and Marshall and got a breakdown of the data among non-college-educated whites, the category polling experts view as a reliable guide to blue collar white sentiment. The breakdown:
* A majority of non-college whites, 53 percent, say they would be very or somewhat likely to support a candidate who supports the goals of the protesters, versus only 33 percent who wouldn’t be likely to do that.
* A plurality of non-college whites, 41 percent, supports the protesters, versus 39 percent who don’t.
This is only one state, and it’s an admittedly small data point. But this mirrors some national polling, and we should look at every bit of info we can get our hands on. Here we have a measure of sentiment about Occupy Wall Street among blue collar whites in one of the most important swing states in the country — one that’s home to the sort of working class voter who has been particularly hard hit by the economic crisis.
There are reasons to question such polling. These might be low information voters who are reacting to the anti-Wall Street name. Voters might turn on the protests as they see more images of violence or outsized tacics. The protests could grow more alienating over time. Efforts by labor to forge a bond between the protests and a larger working class consistuency may yet fail.
But the predictions that blue collar whites will turn on Occupy Wall Street over its theatrics — even as they might be receptive to the economic populist message driving them — keep failing to come to pass.