News Release 

Survey: Most Americans want government commitment to reduce inequality

New national survey shows a majority of Americans want the federal government to reduce inequality amid the Covid-19 economic crisis. Most say the US is increasingly divided between 'haves' and 'have-nots'

Lehigh University

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IMAGE: Anthony DiMaggio is an associate professor of political science at Lehigh University. view more 

Credit: Lehigh University

A new poll finds that a majority of Americans say that the federal government should commit to reducing economic inequality in this country over the next year, considering the spread of coronavirus in the United States and its impact on the economy and the American people.

A national survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Lehigh University of 2,018 Americans, conducted between April 7-9, 2020, finds that 78 percent of Americans agree that "considering the spread of coronavirus in the United States and its impact on the economy and the American people," it is "somewhat" or "very important" that "the U.S. government commit to reducing economic inequality" over the next year, through things like "raising the minimum wage" and "taxing households making more than $250,000 a year to guarantee health care coverage to all Americans who lack access." Only 22 percent feel reducing inequality through these actions is "not very important" or "not at all important."

As the polling data show, public attitudes on inequality reduction vary by income, age, and between renters and homeowners. Support for inequality reduction is highest among Americans, age 35-44 (88%, compared to 82% of 18-34, 80% of 45-54 ,74% of 55-64 and 67% of 65+), individuals with household incomes of less than $100,000 a year (81% compared to 73% of those with HHI of $100K+), and renters (84%, compared to 76% of homeowners).

Opinions about the inequality divide are divided. Fifty-seven percent of Americans agree that "in a time of growing economic instability and rising unemployment claims, the U.S. is increasingly divided between the 'haves' and 'have-nots.'" By comparison, 43 percent agree that "recent economic troubles are only temporary, and the economy will soon bounce back, so it makes little sense to speak of 'haves' and 'have-nots.'" Groups that are most likely to agree that the U.S. is divided include younger Americans, aged 18-34 (64%, compared to 54% of 35-54, and 51% of 65+), individuals with household incomes of less than $50,000 a year (61%, compared to 53% of those with HHI of $100k+), and women (60%, compared to 54% of men).

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Methodology This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Lehigh University from April 7 - 9, 2020 among 2,018 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact:

Dr. Anthony DiMaggio
Associate Professor, Lehigh University
Department of Political Science
Email: Ard416@lehigh.edu

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