Since the emergence of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement a great deal of attention has been focused on establishing what this movement wants. To understand and get at this movement's demands, we asked the following open-ended question of respondents at three Occupy locations:
Question: "If you could enact ONE policy to address America's problems today, what would it be?"
To date we have asked this at the Occupy locations in New York (100 respondents - October 22-23), Boston (95 respondents - October 23) and Washington, D.C. (38 respondents - October 30). The responses to this question were recorded verbatim. As these interviews are part of an ongoing project to generate data on various Occupy locations, we present a summary of the key policies articulated thus far with the caveat that these results should be viewed as preliminary and suggestive rather than conclusive and representative of the entire Occupy movement.
A Note on Classification: To best capture respondents' vocabulary we have reproduced below the words they used to identify the "ONE policy" they would enact. We have grouped the key policies under general categories. In a number of cases respondents used different words to describe a similar policy, to the extent possible we have also reproduced the different ways in which they referred to a similar policy.
I. Policies to reduce/eliminate corporate influence in politics
II. Policies to reform the tax structure
III. Policies to create jobs
IV. Policies related to healthcare
V. Policies related to the environment and energy
VI. Anti-war policies
VII. Policies to reform education
VIII. Miscellaneous policies related to political economy
IX. Don't Know:
So what does the OWS Movement want? Our preliminary results suggest that the Occupy Wall Street movement has an array of political demands that are not very different from mainstream Americans. One things is for certain, there is a need for more data-driven analysis and less speculation with regard to the demands of this movement, especially as it continues to evolve.
Occupy Wall Street - Public Opinion Project (OWS-POP) is an independent initiative dedicated to generating and publicly sharing data on the Occupy Wall Street protests and protesters.
For Questions or Comments, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Results: OWS-POP website: https://sites.google.com/site/owspublicopinionproject/home