What This Week's 'Occupy' Protests Mean for Democrats In 2012

Thursday's coordinated Occupy Wall Street "National Day of Action" is bad news for the Democratic party, and bad news for President Obama.

Of course, most Americans sympathize with the protesters claim that the 1% get the bulk of the benefits from society, and the 99% are falling further and further behind. Voters on the right and on the left agree with that in certainty. And there is a widespread sense that Wall Street has benefitted from special deals-- whether it be the bailout or other breaks.

But those generalized conclusions shouldn't obscure the basic finding of polling I have done and polling others have done, that Occupy Wall Street is increasingly unpopular with the broad mass of the American people, especially independents and Republicans, and that for swing voters, association of the Democratic party with Occupy Wall Street and their day of action will only be a negative.

Polling that has been done recently shows that the president's standing with independents is now down around 30-35%, and not showing any signs of improvement. By having associated themselves, even implicitly, with those who are beginning to protest and have lead to multiple arrests and civil disobedience, at the very least an implicit message is sent, if not an explicit message, saying that the Democrats are prepared to endorse the type of street action that we haven't seen in America since the later days of the Vietnam war protests.

This can't be good news for a party that poll after poll has shown is perceived as too far to the left for the American peoples tastes.

Moreover, my own polling and that of others, has shown that the Tea Party has greater influence and impact on American political life than does Occupy Wall Street. And Thursday's coordinated actions only send a message about the further polarization in American society, and the links of the Democrats with those who believe anti-systemic action is the most important and best way to achieve wanted results.

To be sure, we shouldn't overstate the case. This doesn't spell the death now of the Democratic party by any means. And indeed their greatest asset going into this election may well be a Republican party that has proven largely to be inflexible and has not done near enough to change that perception.

But that being said, in a deadlocked country with voters looking for answers and solutions, a coordinated national protests is not the way to build support for a party that is at risk for losing the House, the Senate and the White House.

Douglas E. Schoen is a political strategist and Fox News contributor. His most recent book is "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System" published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins.