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Tracy James
IU Media Relations

Fabio Rojas
Department of Sociology

Last modified: Thursday, September 2, 2004

Survey of protesters in New York details anti-Bush sentiment

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The throngs of political protesters demonstrating in New York City this week opposed the policies of President George Bush. While protesters were motivated primarily by anti-Bush sentiment, only 5 percent were recruited by groups related to John Kerry's campaign. Demonstrators participated because they were contacted by friends and community organizations through the Internet.

Fabio Rojas, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University Bloomington, and his colleague Michael Heaney, a fellow at Yale University's Institute for Social and Policy Studies, are surveying political demonstrators this week in New York to discern the coalitions and networks involved in the demonstrations. This is a continuation of Rojas' and Heaney's research interest in political organizations.

Their surveying work will continue through Thursday (Sept. 2). As of Wednesday, they have analyzed the results of surveys involving the massive march on Sunday, which was organized by United for Peace and Justice and involved at least 63 other organizations, and two smaller demonstrations on Monday organized by narrower coalitions focused on domestic issues such as poverty. Below are some of their findings:

• Few of the demonstrators were recruited by pro-Kerry groups. Most reported finding out about the demonstrations from friends, church, the radio and other sources.

• Demonstrators on Sunday were more likely to be white and were five times more likely to be 50 years or older than protesters on Monday. Rojas attributed the difference in demonstrators in part to the day and the constituencies involved. On Monday, which is when many people are working, the demonstration focused on more specific grievances, such as welfare rights and immigration, compared to the more general anti-Bush sentiments expressed on Sunday.

• Most people surveyed identified themselves as Democrats if they identified with a party. A "handful" of people described themselves as Republicans who support Kerry, and a few people supported third parties.

Researchers were unable to survey protesters on Tuesday because of police intervention at demonstrations. Their work continued on Wednesday.

Rojas can be contacted at 812-856-1491 or