White People Skeptical Of Redistributive Taxation, Poor People Love It

Higher taxes on high income individuals always polls quite well as a means of closing fiscal gaps. Consequently, I’ve always found it a bit puzzling that the rhetoric of politicians opposed to such taxes tends to emphasize the idea that they constitute “class warfare.” You’d think that’s the appealing part of it! But I guess not. Gallup did a poll where they didn’t ask people if taxing the rich is a good way to close the deficit. Instead they asked “do you think our government should or should not redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich?” In 2007, they brought forth a 49-47 result in favor, and today it gets you 47-49 opposed.

Here’s the demographic breakdown:

The public is pretty evenly divided on this, but support for redistribution is concentrated in demographic categories (poor people, black people) who are disproportionately unlikely to vote. Then over and above actual voting, the $75,000 and over crowd has higher social capital and is the donor base for both parties. In general, this poll seems to support the Lupu and Pontussen thesis that middle class white Americans have an unusually low sense of solidarity with low-income Americans due to ethnic differences.