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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rich, Poor, and Polarization

The Pew Research Center finds party polarization in attitudes toward the wealthy:
Republicans and Democrats view the rich differently. A much higher share of Republicans (55%) than Democrats (33%) say, compared with the average person, rich people are more likely to be hardworking. Republicans are also more likely than Democrats to view rich people as more intelligent than average. Roughly half of Republicans (49%) say rich people are more likely to be intelligent. Only 38% of Democrats agree.
For their part, Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to view the rich as greedy. Roughly two-thirds of Democrats (65%) say the rich are more likely than average Americans to be greedy. Only 42% of Republicans agree with this assessment of the rich. Democrats also have a less positive view of the rich when it comes to honesty. While 18% of Republicans say rich people are more likely than average to be honest, only 8% of Democrats agree.
A similar pattern shows up with questions on tax policy:
Partisanship is closely linked to views about federal taxes, and the biggest gaps emerge over tax rates for the rich. A solid majority of Republicans say upper-income people pay either their fair share (44%) or too much (14%). Among Democrats, a strong majority (78%) say upper-income people pay too little in taxes; only 33% of Republicans agree. Some 13% of Democrats say upper-income people pay their fair share in taxes, while 4% say the rich are paying too much.