California Democrats and Republicans agree that income inequality is a big problem, a new Field Poll finds, but one group is far more satisfied with the state's distribution of wealth: immigrants.
Among Californians born here, 60 percent report dissatisfaction with the wealth gap and 66 percent feel it's greater now than in the past. Among immigrants, however, only 40 percent are dissatisfied, while only 40 percent feel the gap is now wider.
And in a twist that offers surprising insight into the nature of an increasingly diverse state, immigrants are much more likely than those born here -- 43 percent, compared with 30 percent -- to say government should do "a lot" more to reduce the gap between wealthy Californians and everybody else.
Mark DiCamillo, the Field Poll's director, said the results were "unexpected" but, after reflection, make perfect sense.
Californians born in this country might see economic disparity as a bigger problem, yet are likelier to lean conservative and be "fearful of government intervention in the private sector," he said. Immigrants, meanwhile, come here largely from nations in Latin America and Asia, "many of which have even greater disparities in income" and are more likely to be "activist in their views of government."
Overall, the poll of 1,402 California adults conducted June 5-22 found that 54 percent are dissatisfied with how income and wealth are distributed in the state, while 38 percent are satisfied and 8 percent had no opinion. Majorities of both liberals and conservatives felt this way; in fact, almost all age, income and gender groups reported dissatisfaction.