According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center, about six in ten American adults (63%) say the country’s economic system unfairly favors powerful interests, compared to a third (33%) who say it is generally fair for most. Americans. While general opinions on this issue have changed little in recent years, the partisan divide has widened.
For the first time since the Center first asked the question in 2014, a clear majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (57%) now say the economic system is generally fair for most Americans. As recently as the spring of 2016, a 54% majority of Republicans believed the economic system unfairly favored powerful interests.
And while large majorities of Democrats and Democratic leanings have long said the US economic system unfairly favors powerful interests, the share of those saying that has risen since 2016 — from 76% then to 84% now.
Partisan differences extend to beliefs about why people are poor or rich.
Both Democrats and Democrats are more likely to say the reason someone is poor usually has more to do with circumstances beyond their control (69%) than a lack of effort (18%). Among Republicans and leaning Republicans, a larger share say a person is poor more because of a lack of effort (48%) than because of circumstances beyond an individual’s control (31% ).
Among American adults overall, 52% point to circumstances beyond a person’s control, while 31% say it’s a lack of effort on their part; 12% of volunteers are both equal contributors.
When it comes to why someone is wealthy, the general public is split: 43% of American adults say it’s more because they’ve worked harder than most other people, while 42% say it’s more because they had more advantages in life than most. the other people. Again, the two partisan coalitions have surprisingly different views on this issue.
About seven in ten Republicans (71%) say a person is generally more likely to be wealthy because they have worked harder than others, and only 18% say a person’s wealth is more likely to be be the result of having more advantages in life. By contrast, just 22% of Democrats say wealth is generally more likely to come from working harder, while 62% say it generally has more to do with perks than others. had not.
Among Republicans, there is a substantial ideological divide on this issue: nearly eight in ten conservative Republicans and leaning Republicans (79%) say a person is more likely to be wealthy because they have worked harder, versus 49% among moderates and liberals. Republicans. There is a more modest ideological gap among Democrats.
While Republicans have long been more likely than Democrats to attribute someone’s wealth to hard work, the partisan gap on this issue has roughly doubled (from 25 to 49 percentage points) over the past four last years.
The share of Republicans who attribute wealth more to hard work has steadily increased since 2014, from 54% to 71%. In the same time frame, there was a more modest 7 percentage point shift in the other direction among Democrats.
Opinions on why some people are rich and poor also vary by family income. Those with an annual family income of $75,000 or more are more likely than those with an income of less than $30,000 (49% versus 36%) to say that wealth comes more from hard work than benefits. ‘one person. Those with lower incomes, in turn, are more likely than those with higher incomes to say that a person is poor more because of circumstances beyond their control than because of a lack of effort.
Correction: An earlier version of this blog post incorrectly quoted the period in which the partisan gap in opinions on why someone is wealthy roughly doubled.
Amina Dunn is a research analyst specializing in American politics and politics at the Pew Research Center.