by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
[M]uch was made of a recent Pew Research poll purporting to show a sharp rise in conflicts between rich and poor.
In fact, the poll showed that public attitudes toward the wealthy remain largely unchanged — with a near-even split between those who think the rich were born into money or connections and those who think people are rich “mainly because of their own hard work, ambition, or education.” There hasn’t been an increase in people’s own grievances against the rich; rather, there was a 19-point increase in people saying they believe there are very strong conflicts between rich and poor — not a surprise given all the media attention to the OWS protests.
Indeed, the headline Pew produced for its research reads “For the Public, It’s Not About Class Warfare, but Fairness.” Pew’s conclusion? While Americans are hearing more about class conflict, “there is no sense that the American people are on the verge of class conflict; they just want a better chance of achieving success themselves.”