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Americans Divided on Taxing the Rich

This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Anna Fleck

U.S. adults were divided on the topic of whether their government should or should not redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich in Gallup’s latest survey wave, conducted in July 2022. Where 52 percent of voters were in favor of bringing in higher taxes, 47 opposed the idea.

The following chart shows the share of voters that agreed with taxing the rich based on their political affiliations. Where nearly eight in ten Democratic-leaning voters supported the move as of July, only a quarter of Republican-leaning voters said the same. These standpoints have remained fairly consistent since 2009, although there’s been a slight divergence since 2016, as the share of Democratic-leaning U.S. adults thinking the rich should be taxed more heavily has grown by 5 percentage points.

Gallup analyst Frank Newport highlights in one article that the wording of this question has likely had an impact on respondents' answers, since previous surveys carried out over the past 25 years have found repeatedly that at least six in ten U.S. adults agree that upper-income Americans pay too little in taxes.

Data from a recent YouGov survey carried out in September 2022 supports the Gallup findings, simultaneously in terms of his assessment that the average American supports taxing the rich, finding that 57 percent of U.S. respondents said that billionaires are currently taxed either somewhat/much too low in the U.S., versus only 10 percent who thought they are taxed much/somewhat too high and 17 percent who said billionaires are taxed “about right”.

While at the same time the poll shows that when the question turns to one of policy and action, there was again more of a split, as 45 percent of U.S. respondents said they thought that the federal government should try to reduce the share of wealth held by billionaires in the country, while 31 percent said they should not, and 24 percent said they were not sure.

In January 2023, more than 200 millionaires and billionaires called on governments around the world to tax “the ultra rich, now” to help with extreme inequality, as reported by The Guardian.

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