Is “Class Conflict” the new “Immigration”?


by David Safier

The topic of income disparity isn't just for economists any more. Since 2009, there has been a 19% jump in the number of people who think the conflict "between poor people and rich people" is from strong to very strong — 66% as opposed to 47% two years ago.

Here's the question asked by the Pew Research Center:

"In America, how much conflict is there between poor people and rich people: very strong conflicts, strong conflicts, not very strong conflicts, there are not conflicts?"

You can quibble with the question's wording, but the result shows a significant upswing in the understanding of the importance of our income gaps. This question gets a higher number than a similar question about the conflict between immigrants and native-born.

All kinds of interesting breakdowns here. Though blacks are more likely to perceive a conflict, the number of whites who see the conflict has gone up 22%, triple the rate of increase among blacks.

Women perceive the conflict more than men. The income group which most sees the conflict are people making $40,000 to $75,000 (71%), followed by those making over $75,000 (67%). People from 18 to 34 came in at 71%, while people over 65 were far lower, at 55%.

No wonder some Republican presidential candidates are trying to jump on the class conflict bandwagon, since 55% of Republicans see this as important. Democrats come in at 73%, Independents at 68%