Monday, January 2, 2012

More on plummeting support for redistribution

This question was first asked in 1984 by Gallup and has been picked up by other organizations:
"Do you feel that the distribution of money and wealth in this country today is fair or do you feel that the money and wealth in this country should be more evenly distributed among a larger percentage of the people?"  The figure shows the percent who said that "the money and wealth" should be more evenly distributed. 
There's not a lot of variation, but there are some ups and downs.  The most dramatic decline was from 68% favoring a more even distribution in April 2008 to 58% in October 2008 (just as we went from a mild recession to a severe one).  It stayed low in surveys taken in March 2009 and April 2011.  So by this measure, support for redistribution really did plummet (or at least decline) during the recession.  But then it bounced back to 66% in October 2011.  I haven't done any analysis, but looking until 2008, it seems like there was a tendency for the percent favoring a more even distribution to go up when times were hard and down when times were good.  But what happened after 2008 doesn't fit that at all.

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