Do a majority of Americans support redistribution?

According to Gallup, around six in 10 Americans believe that the nation’s wealth should be more evenly distributed. Around a third polled believe it’s fair as it is.

As you can see above, the numbers on this have stayed consistent over the years. And really, to believe that wealth isn’t fairly distributed among citizens — that there are too few rich and too many poor — isn’t in and of itself a terrible inclination. Though the left-wing political argument always seems to focus on the unfairness of too much wealth rather than the other way around.

The graph below, however, should worry you. It shows a spike among people who believe taking from one person (regardless of how they earned their wealth) and handing it to another person (no matter why they don’t have similar wealth) is productive policy. Americans are, if we’re to believe these polls, incredibly susceptible to populist arguments about inequality.

Though, it should be pointed out, that the question is a bit misleading in a number of ways.

1 – It leads those answering the question to assume that the rich aren’t already “heavily” taxed.

2- It fails to offer a choice — say, “Would you rather heavily tax the rich or create new opportunities for the poor”?


Follow David Harsanyi on Twitter @davidharsanyi.