Most Americans Say The Wealth Gap Has Gotten Bigger, But They Are Split On How To Narrow It

March 21, 2012, 4:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 3/17/2012) 73% of the public believes the income gap between rich and poor has gotten bigger in the last few years, according to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll. But Americans are less willing to support government action aimed at narrowing the gap than they are to support general efforts to grow the economy, even though most believe the growing gap is a bad thing.

Very large percentages of Americans think it’s extremely or somewhat important for the government to take action to grow and expand the economy as well as to increase equality of opportunity (Democrats are overwhelmingly in agreement that these efforts are important, while Republicans are in agreement on the first but divided on the second). But less than 60% say it’s important that action be taken to reduce the wealth gap. And on this question, there is wide partisan disagreement. 83% of Democrats and 63% of independents believe doing something about this is at least somewhat important. Only 26% of Republicans agree.

The Obama Administration isn’t necessarily seen as working to reduce the wealth gap. More than twice as many think the President’s policies have been very favorable to the rich as think they have been very favorable to the poor or the middle class. Americans with incomes under $40,000 a year are nearly three times as likely to say this.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association

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