Monday, June 27, 2011

Taxing the rich

I often notice a survey question asked many years ago and wish that they'd repeat it.  It's a lot less often that I find a case in which an old question was repeated after a long lapse.  I did today:

People feel differently about how far a government should go. Here is a phrase which some people believe in and some don't. Do you think our government should or should not redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich? 

35%  54%  11%   (Roper/Fortune, March 1939)
45%  51%   4%   (Gallup, April 1998)
49%  47%   4%   (Gallup, April 2007)
51%  43%   5%   (Gallup, April 2008)
46%  50%   4%   (Gallup, Oct 2008)
50%  46%   4%   (Gallup/USA Today, March 2009)
47%  49%   4%   (Gallup, April 2011)

The sampling procedures were different in the late 1930s than they are today, so I'm not sure whether there's really been an increase in support for heavy taxes on the rich.  But there certainly hasn't been a decline.  It's also interesting that the figures for October 2008, March 2009, and April 2011 are essentially the same.  From following the news, you'd think the public mood had changed a lot over that time.

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