Monday, May 28, 2012

Is the stock market fair?

In 2002, a Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll asked "Do you think the stock market--is fair to all investors, giving everyone an equal chance to make money or do you think the stock market unfairly benefits rich investors at the expense of average Americans?"  

38% said it was fair to all, 52% that it unfairly benefited rich investors, and 10% didn't know.  A CBS News poll in May 2010 asked the same question.  This time, the numbers were 23% fair, 64% favors the rich, and 13% don't know.  CBS News asked the same question in November 2010, with exactly the same results:  23-64-13.  That is, there was a substantial shift towards saying that it unfairly benefits the rich.  This probably shouldn't be surprising, but given the popularity of the claim that people reacted to the recession by blaming the government rather than Wall Street, it's worth mentioning.  It would be interesting to see if the loss of confidence occurred across the board or was more concentrated in certain groups, but a breakdown isn't available for the later surveys. 

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