Poll: Majority of Americans want government to reduce income gap
February 5th, 2014
06:00 AM ET
8 months ago

Poll: Majority of Americans want government to reduce income gap

(CNN) – A majority of Americans surveyed believe the government should work to reduce the income gap between rich and the poor, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/ORC International survey released Wednesday indicates more than six in 10 Americans strongly or somewhat agree that the government should work to narrow that gap, compared to 30% who believe it should not.

"That sentiment may put Republicans in a difficult position, because nearly seven in 10 of those surveyed believe GOP policies favor the rich compared to the 30% of respondents who said Democratic policies benefit the wealthy," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The results come after President Barack Obama made a major push in his State of the Union address last week for policies curbing income inequality.

The White House has billed 2014 as a 'Year of Action' and efforts to stem the widening gap between the rich and poor has become a cornerstone of the administration's agenda.

Opinion on the income gap appears to have changed little since the Reagan era. In 1983, 68% of Americans favored government action to narrow the divide. Today, that number stands at 66%.

Most Republicans oppose such measures, and nine in 10 Democrats favor them. Among independents, two-thirds believe the government should work to reduce the income gap.

Higher income earners agree. Fifty-seven percent of Americans who earn more than $100,000 a year said the government should help decrease the income inequality.

There is a gender gap on this issue as well, with women, at 70%, slightly more likely to favor measures to reduce the gap than men, at 62%.

The CNN survey was conducted by ORC International from January 31 to February 2, with 1,010 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • Economy
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    -Fair is Fair

    Tampa Tim

    Fair – there was a tremendous wage disparity in the 1890's, and it was addressed because a republican went against his party. Bully for Teddy.
    --
    Well, TT, I do believe you might be comparing the economy of the 1890's, which was agriculture and manufacturing based, with the economy of the 21st century, which is high-tech and service-industry based. There is no valid comparison, so you really shouldn't try to imply one. Apples to camels.
    ********************
    I believe a disparity in wages is still a disparity in wages regardless of what the economic base is, Fair. I believe a better question might be what the Right intends to do about addressing the issue, as well as the issue of social mobility, other than subsidizing the wealthy with tax cuts they don't need. Since having a growing middle class has always been the key to American economic success, perhaps assisting them should be the priority, and not keeping the Sheldon Adelsons of the world happy.

    February 5, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  2. Tampa Tim

    Fair – Only in your mind, is the comparison apples to camels, and you should know better The comparison is obvious, it was dealt with, and can be dealt with again if we eliminate the brain dead republicans in congress.

    February 5, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. Fair is Fair

    The Real Tom Paine

    I believe a disparity in wages is still a disparity in wages regardless of what the economic base is, Fair. I believe a better question might be what the Right intends to do about addressing the issue, as well as the issue of social mobility, other than subsidizing the wealthy with tax cuts they don't need. Since having a growing middle class has always been the key to American economic success, perhaps assisting them should be the priority, and not keeping the Sheldon Adelsons of the world happy.
    ------
    Fair enough. So I'll ask my original question. Short of punative taxation, what should the government do to address this?

    February 5, 2014 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
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