Americans may say that Robin Hood is a hero, but most don't think that robbing from the rich to give to the poor has any place in the modern world
The recent publication of Capital in the Twenty-First Century by French economist Thomas Piketty has re-ignited the debate over high taxes on the wealthy. A prior incarnation of this debate in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis saw left-wing figures call for a 'Robin Hood' tax that would have levied a small tax on all financial transactions, potentially generating tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars. While such a tax is far from the forests of England, the name it received indicated that proponents knew that Robin Hood is a popular figure with the public.
The latest research from YouGov bears this out. Fully 64% of Americans say that Robin Hood was a hero, while only 14% say that he was a villain. Unsurprisingly, however, the richer someone is the more likely they are to think that Robin Hood is a villain. Only 11% of people in households with incomes under $40,000 a year say that he was a villain, compared to 27% of people earning between $80,00 and $100,000 and 20% of people with an annual household income of over $100,000.
Most Americans (57%) say that, today, any would-be Robin Hood would be in the wrong if they began robbing the rich to give to the poor, while only 28% think that it would be justified. There is a major partisan split on this issue, however, with Democrats being nearly even divided between people who think a new Robin Hood would be justified (39%) and unjustified (45%). Most Independents (53%) and the vast majority of Republicans (82%) think that robbing the rich isn't justified in this day and age.
Full poll results can be found here.