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Two-Thirds of Americans Think Economic System Favors the Powerful

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With the 2016 presidential primary season now in full roar, candidates of both major parties are having to finesse the question of whether the U.S. economic system is fair to most Americans or gives an edge to the wealthy.

Reports from the hustings indicate that many potential voters consider the system “rigged” to favor the rich and powerful.

A new survey by Pew Research, conducted between Aug. 27 and Oct. 4, adds ballast to these reports. The poll found that 65% of Americans thought the economic system “unfairly favors powerful interests.”

Only 31% said the system “is generally fair to most Americans.”

A Pew Research study in December found Americans’ optimism about the country’s economy trending downward.

Overall, 73% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents in the new survey said the economic system was unfair, compared with 54% of Republicans and Republican leaners.

However, economic differences within the two parties stood out.

Sixty percent of high-income Republicans, those with family incomes of $100,000 or more, contended that the system was fair to most Americans.

That proportion dropped to 43% for Republicans earning between $75,000 and $99,999 and to 35% for those with incomes of less than $30,000.

In contrast, 82% of Democrats with family incomes of $75,000 and higher said the economic system unfairly favored powerful interests.

On the other hand, 29% of Democrats earning less than $30,000 said the system was generally fair to most Americans.

The survey found a nearly even split among conservative Republicans on the system’s fairness, while 59% of their moderate and liberal Republican counterparts said it was unfair.

Eighty-two percent of liberal Democrats and two-thirds of moderate and conservative ones said the system favored the powerful.

— Check out Did Fed Give Trump, Sanders The Edge? on ThinkAdvisor.


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