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Republicans says rich class is good for U.S., Democrats warn about inequality

Staff Writer |
The 43% of Democrats who say the U.S. benefits from having a class of rich people is down significantly from six years ago, and Democrats remain much more negative than either Republicans or independents about the impact of a rich class.

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Roughly eight in 10 (81%) Republicans and 57% of independents say having a rich class is good for the nation, little changed from 2012.

These latest results are from a May 28-June 3 Gallup survey.

Inequality has become an increasingly frequent talking point of liberal and Democratic leaders in recent years, including the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011 and the highly visible focus on the top "1%" of Americans on the socioeconomic ladder.

Additionally, the 2016 Democratic presidential field included Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose major focus was espousing the need for redistributive policies in order to address widening inequality in the country.

At the same time, Donald Trump ran for and won the presidency as a wealthy Republican who unabashedly praises the rich and rich people.

Both factors may help explain why rank-and-file Democrats across the country have become less likely to believe a rich class has a positive effect on U.S. society.

In 1990, 62% of all Americans were positive about having a rich class, and a similar percentage, 63%, held that view in 2012.

Now, with a reduced proportion of Democrats saying the country benefits from having a class of rich people, the overall percentage of U.S. adults holding this view has edged down to 58%.

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