Poll: Americans don’t really care that much about income inequality

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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President Obama and the Democrats have picked income inequality as their defining issue for the 2014 midterm elections, but a new poll suggests they should probably reconsider.

A Fox News poll of registered voters released Wednesday shows that only 12 percent Americans believe income inequality is the most important economic issue facing the country — a distant third behind jobs and employment at 40 percent, and government spending and the deficit at 36 percent.

When asked what they think of “some people making a lot more money than others,” 62 percent of respondents said that was fine with them because “that’s how our economy works.” Twenty-one percent said “it stinks,” but “the government should not get involved.” Only 13 percent indicated it both angered them and “the government should do something about it.”

Asked whether their friends and neighbors “resent people who make a lot of money,” 69 percent of respondents said “not much” or “not at all.” Only 5 percent indicated they had a “a great deal” of resentment for wealthy people. Seventeen percent indicated they had “some” resentment.

Fifty-six percent of Americans, however, agree with the president’s call to raise the minimum wage. Twenty-five percent say the minimum wage should stay as is, while 15 percent say there should be no minimum wage at all.

But President Obama doesn’t get high marks for how he has handled the issue of income inequality during his tenure in the White House. Fifty-two percent of respondents said they disapprove of the president’s handling of the issue, while only 39 percent expressed approval.

The poll, which surveyed 1,011 registered voters from Jan 19-21, has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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Jamie Weinstein