Survey: DC women’s march drew many first-time protesters

WASHINGTON (AP) — About a third of the people who turned out for the Women’s March on Washington were first-time protesters, an unusually high share of newcomers for a demonstration, according to a survey of march participants.

University of Maryland Professor Dana Fisher said Thursday the random survey of 527 participants in the District of Columbia march on the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration also found that about 56 percent hadn’t been part of a demonstration in the past five years, including the first-timers.

By contrast, 38 percent of demonstrators at the People’s Climate March in New York in 2014 hadn’t demonstrated in the past 5 years, said Fisher, who studies large-scale protests. There was no comparable figure for first-time protesters.

The survey found that those who turned out to march in Washington had turned out to vote, too — and not for Trump.

Ninety percent of those surveyed reported they had voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton, 2 percent said they voted for a third party and 6 percent didn’t answer. Less than 1 percent said they voted for Trump.

“I think the reason we had so many first-timers was that people felt like what was going to come with the Trump administration was so much in contrast to the issues that are important to them and the positions that are important to them that they felt they had to do something,” Fisher said.

A large range of issues drew people to the march. Asked what motivated them to participate, 61 percent said women’s rights. About a third mentioned the environment, racial justice, LGBTQ issues and reproductive rights. About a fourth mentioned social welfare and immigration.

Research teams spread out throughout the demonstration area to survey a random selection of participants. Additional survey results will be released later.
City officials in Washington estimated the march drew more than 500,000 people.

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