October 12, 2011 / 8:12 PM / in 8 years

Most Americans aware of Wall Street protests: Reuters/Ipsos

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A strong majority of Americans are aware of the “Occupy Wall Street” protests against U.S. economic inequality and a majority either view them favorably or do not have an opinion about them, a Reuters/Ipsos poll said on Wednesday.

A member of the Occupy Wall St movement holds a sign as he demonstrates in Zuccotti Park near the financial district of New York October 12, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Eighty-two percent of Americans have heard of the protest movement, and 38 percent feel favorably toward it, the poll found. Thirty-five percent are undecided, and about one-fourth — 24 percent — are unfavorable.

Ipsos research director Chris Jackson said the large number of people who were positive or undecided reflected the mood of the country.

“People are just sort of angry,” he said. “They aren’t necessarily sure what they are angry about, and the protest captures that to a certain extent.”

Democrats and Republicans were equally familiar with the protests, at 84 percent and 82 percent, respectively, but only 73 percent of independents were aware.

But their views are sharply divided by party. Fifty-one percent of Democrats viewed the protests favorably, versus just 11 percent who saw them unfavorably. Among independents, 37 percent had a positive view, compared with 14 percent who felt negative.

Just 22 percent of Republicans said they had a favorable view, compared with 44 percent who were unfavorable.

According to Occupy Together, which has become an online hub for protest activity, the Occupy Wall Street movement has sparked rallies in more than 1,300 cities throughout the United States and around the world.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,113 adults, including 934 registered voters, was conducted October 6-10. It surveyed 536 Democrats, 410 Republicans and 167 independents.

The margin of error was 3.0 percentage points for all respondents, 3.2 points for registered voters, 4.2 points for Democrats, 4.8 points for Republicans and 7.6 points for independents.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Peter Cooney

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