(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.