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Is America in class warfare?

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Posted: 3 pm ET

The U.S. is meant to be the land of equal opportunity, but two-thirds of Americans believe we're living in class warfare, according to the results of one poll.

The wealthy have been under increased scrutiny since the Great Recession of 2009 and the Occupy Wall Street movement, with its "we are the 99 percent" call to arms, have put a spotlight on negative perceptions of those in the top tier, or 1 percent, of wealthiest individuals.

The poll, by Pew Research Center, reveals that more Americans across all income levels and political parties think there is "strong conflict" between the rich and poor, with 66 percent of Americans overall saying we're experiencing class warfare. That's a 19 percent increase since 2009 and it surpasses the conflict between native-born Americans and immigrants, which was ranked as the strongest in previous surveys.

Among income levels, the percentages of people saying there's conflict between rich and poor edge up as salaries rise: Of those making less than $20,000, 64 percent say it, compared with 66 percent of those making $20,000 to $40,000 and 71 percent of those earning between $40,000 and $75,000. Of those with earnings of $75,000 or more, 67 percent perceive class warfare.

In this election year, it's interesting to note that 55 percent of Republicans, 73 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of Independents believe there's strong conflict between the rich and poor. Polls have consistently shown that the economy is the No. 1 concern of voters, who will no doubt be examining the candidates' economic policies going into November elections.

Do you think we're experiencing class warfare and that an improved economy will change that perception?

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1 Comment
Christian Talavera
January 16, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Great article! I believe there has always been class warfare, the difference being that the gap has become more noticeable in recent years. Politicians from either side may change their message but not their approach.