Gallup: Today’s Democrats Twice as Likely as Depression-Era Americans to Favor Redistributing Wealth

April 15, 2011 - 4:58 PM

Great Depression

A 32-year-old mother Florence Owen Thompson with her children in 1936 in Nipomo California. This photo was taken by Dorothea Lange as part of a project for the Resettlement Administration. (Library of Congress)

(CNSNews.com) - Democrats in America today are twice as likely as Americans in the Great Depression era to favor imposing heavy taxes on the rich as a means of redistributing wealth, according to data published today by the Gallup poll.

A Gallup poll conducted April 7-11, in the lead-up to the annual deadline for filing federal tax returns, showed that 71 percent of Democrats believe the government should use heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth. In 1939, after ten years of the Great Depression, only 35 percent of all Americans believed government should do that.

In the April 11-17 survey, Gallup asked more than 1,000 American adults: “People feel differently about how far a government should go. Here is a phrase which some people believe in and some don’t. Do you think our government should or should not redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich?”

71 percent of Democrats told Gallup the government should impose heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth and 26 percent said the government should not. By contrast, only 28 percent of Republicans said the government should impose heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth, while 69 percent said the government should not.

Overall, in the April 7-11 Gallup survey, 47 percent of Americans said government should impose heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth while 49 percent said the government should not.

According to Gallup, back in March 1939, after a decade of the Great Depression, the Roper poll conducted a survey for Fortune Magazine asking the same question. At that time, only 35 percent of Americans believed government should impose heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth while 54 percent said government should not.

Although public support for taxing the rich to redistribute wealth is higher today than it was in 1939, it is a bit lower than it was at the beginning of the Obama presidency.

When Gallup asked the question in a survey conducted March 27-29, 2009, two months after Obama’s inauguration, 50 percent said they favored heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth while 46 percent said they did not.

On Wednesday, Obama delivered a speech outlining his plan for dealing with the national debt and calling for higher taxes on wealthier Americans. The Gallup survey on taxing the rich was completed two days before the president’s speech.