Although newly minted movements, Occupy Wall Street and the tea party have been thoroughly absorbed by the preexisting, all-too-familiar partisan divide, according to a Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll.
Most Republicans support and most Democrats oppose the tea party movement that has transformed political debate over the past year and a half, since its start. The red-vs.-blue gap is also now evident in public perceptions of the nascent Occupy gathering, with a majority of Democrats lined up behind the movement and most Republicans in opposition.
Overall, 39 percent of Americans say they support the Occupy Wall Street movement, and nearly as many — 35 percent — are opposed. For the tea party, this poll shows somewhat more opposition than support, with 44 percent against, and 32 percent in favor.
As indicated in the chart below, profiles of Occupy supporters and those who back the tea party expose traditional red-blue splits, not mainly a new divide.
Independents lean against the tea party movement (30 percent supportive, 49 percent opposed), but narrowly in favor of Occupy Wall Street (43 percent favor, 35 percent opposed). Those independents who say they lean toward the Democratic Party are largely supportive of the Occupy movement and opposed to the tea party. GOP-leaning independents tend to back the tea party movement, but they split more evenly on the Occupy movement (34 percent support; 40 percent oppose). — Jon Cohen