Yes, the Rich Are Different — Pew Research

Pew Research has released the results of a survey done last month on the differences between the rich and the rest of us. The survey results didn't really break any new ground, but did throw some light on who Americans think the rich are and what they're like. Some highlights:

  • The total U.S. median annual income for a "wealthy" family is $150,000, but that varies between $200,000 in the Northeast to $150,000 in the Midwest and South.
  • 43% of respondents said the rich are more likely to be intelligent and 42% said they are more likely to be hardworking.
  • 55% said the rich are more likely to be greedy and 34% said they are less likely to be honest.
  • Still, 92% of the self-described middle class and 84% of the self-described lower class say they admire people who get rich by working hard.
  • 58% say upper income people pay too little in taxes.
  • 44% of Republicans said upper-income people pay their fair share of taxes compared with just 13% of Democrats.
  • More than three-quarters of Democrats say upper-income people pay too little in taxes, and (perhaps surprisingly) 33% of Republicans say the same thing.

A large number of respondents - 65% - say the income gap between rich and poor has gotten larger in the past 10 years and 57% say that is a "bad thing."

Finally, on the coming elections, 71% of respondents said Mitt Romney's policies would benefit the wealthy, while just 40% said the policies would benefit the middle class and 31% said his policies would benefit the poor. According to 37% of respondents, President Obama's policies would benefit the rich, and 50% said his policies would benefit the middle class and 60% said the policies would benefit the poor.

The full survey report is available here.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Economy, Politics, Research
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