- (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House and 2012 Republican presidential contender, caused a controversy when he said recently that members of the "Occupy Wall Street" (OCW) movement should take a bath and get a job. A new research poll shows 43 percent of potential voters agree with that statement while 43 percent do not.
Gingrich mocked the protesters on Nov. 19 on theThanksgiving Family Forum in Iowa, a holiday-special presidential debate organized by The Family Leader, which featured all the candidates except for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Alluding to the protesters occupying Zuccotti Park in New York City, the former House Speaker said during the event, which was broadcast: "That is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country, and why you need to reassert something by saying to them, 'Go get a job right after you take a bath.' "
One research group, Rasmussen Reports, conducted a national survey among eligible American voters, to see how many would agree with Gingrich's remarks.
As the OWS movement has generally been seen for the recent two-and-a-half months as a fruit of "class warfare" and an issue that has divided the nation deeply, emphasizing the high contrast between the wants of different social groups (some also expect it to influence the 2012 presidential elections), any statistics concerning the public opinion might potentially be of value.
These numbers do not offer a huge amount of help, since an equal number of people surveyed agreed and disagreed with the remarks, at 43 percent. Fourteen percent remained undecided.
But does that prove how the issue divides the nation? Political scientists seem skeptical.
Professor Emeritus of the Political Science Department at CUNY Hunter College, Kenneth Sherrill, told The Christian Post Tuesday that he thinks the poll question is "frivolous."
"I think that asking this question on a poll was some pollster's idea of a joke," Sherrill said. "I'm not sure what it shows, no. I mean, if you want to guess, it probably indicates general levels of support for the occupation of Wall Street."
The national survey was conducted on 1,000 "Likely Voters" on Nov. 27.
During the Thanksgiving Family Forum, Gingrich suggested the OWS protesters do not have a right to feel sory for themselves and that they are disturbing tax payers.
"All the Occupy movement starts with the premise that we all owe them everything," he said. "They take over a public park they didn't pay for, to go nearby to use bathrooms they didn't pay for, to beg for food from places they don't want to pay for, to obstruct those who are going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms and to sustain the park, so they can self-righteously explain they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything."
Here is a clip of Gingrich's remark during the Thanksgiving Family Forum in Iowa: