Poll: Americans ready for action to reduce wealth and income gaps

The folks at Pew Research released new poll results today confirming that Americans are increasingly sick and tired of the nation’s growing economic inequality and want government to do something about it. Even sizable percentages of Republicans favor strong action.

“There is broad public agreement that economic inequality has grown over the past decade. But as President Obama prepares for Tuesday’s State of the Union, where he is expected to unveil proposals for dealing with inequality and poverty, there are wide partisan differences over how much the government should – and can – do to address these issues.

The new national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted Jan. 15-19 among 1,504 adults, finds that 65% believe the gap between the rich and everyone else has increased in the last 10 years. This view is shared by majorities across nearly all groups in the public, including 68% of Democrats and 61% of Republicans.”

And while there is a significant partisan divide, overall majorities were large for some common sense solutions and assessments of the source of the problem:

“Overall, 73% of the public favors raising the federal minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. And 63% back a one-year extension of unemployment benefits for those who have been out of work a long time. Both issues receive nearly unanimous support from Democrats and are favored by wide margins among independents but divide the GOP….

The survey finds that more people think that circumstances beyond an individual’s control (50%) – rather than a lack of hard work (35%) – are generally to blame if a person is poor.

Similarly, more say that factors beyond an individual’s control have more to do with someone being rich. About half (51%) say having greater advantages than others generally has more to do with why a person is rich, while 38% say it is because they worked harder than others.”

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  1. Elizabeth

    January 23, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    That is completely ridiculous. If we raise minimum wage there are going to be less jobs due to the fact that producers don’t want to pay that much money for labor. It’s going to hurt all of us in the end because people will start to outsource more jobs due to the high labor cost in the US. You people are ridiculous and idioc if you think that’s going to help. If anything we need to lower regulations in the US and make it more accommodating for businesses to be run in the US.

  2. Kiterea

    January 24, 2014 at 5:59 am

    It does matter how much someone earns, if there is no money left over from bills and food to save.

  3. Alan

    January 24, 2014 at 11:11 am


    An understanding of basic economics is all that’s needed to know raising the minimum wage has a positive impact on all of society, not just those receiving an increase at the lowest end of the income spectrum. That’s pretty much accepted FACT (except for the uber-right wing “think” tanks).

    “It’s going to hurt all of us in the end because people will start to outsource more jobs due to the high labor cost in the US”. The US has ALREADY outsourced an enormous amount of it’s manufacturing base AND skilled labor to lower cost countries. Many of the jobs outsourced were well, and in many cases, very well paid positions. All done in the name of profit, or greed. So, outsourcing has little, or more likely NOTHING to do with the minimum wage. I struggle to understand what jobs would be (further) outsourced by raising the minimum wage???

    Specifically, what regulations do you feel should be “lowered” to make it “more accommodating for businesses to be run in the US”? I hear the right-wing mantra of “fewer regulations” all the time, but never any substance or definition of what these burdensome regulations are?

  4. Jack

    January 24, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    It would be nice if people understood the value of the people. If I’m going to be a part of the workforce that creates profit for a company then I should be paid accordingly, a living wage.

    Relax business regulations if you want your tap water with chemicals, your food contaminated, your land fouled and the air filled with lung killing particles.

    Read about the Gilded Age if you want to see what business without regulations become.

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