Despite the recent political emphasis on wealth inequality and the call for higher taxes on the rich, more than six in 10 Americans think the United States benefits from having a class of rich people, unchanged from 22 years ago.
The findings, based on a Gallup poll conducted May 3-6, 2012, reflect the first update of a question Gallup initially asked in May 1990. The remarkable similarity in Americans' views over this 22-year span shows that despite the recent economic recession and the renewed focus from the Obama administration on the unequal distribution of wealth in contemporary society, Americans' belief in the value of having the "rich among us" has not changed.
There are political differences in these views, as would be expected. A slim majority of Democrats say the U.S. benefits from having a class of rich people, while eight in 10 Republicans and almost six in 10 independents say the same.