January 12, 2012 at 11:33 AM EST
Rising Share of Americans See Conflict Between Rich and Poor
Changing perceptions among whites has driven a dramatic increase in the proportion of Americans who believe there are serious conflicts between the rich and poor. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that about two-thirds of the public (66%) believes there are “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor—an increase [...]

Changing perceptions among whites has driven a dramatic increase in the proportion of Americans who believe there are serious conflicts between the rich and poor.

A new Pew Research Center survey finds that about two-thirds of the public (66%) believes there are “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor—an increase of 19 percentage points since 2009.

Not only have perceptions of class conflict grown more prevalent; so, too, has the belief that these disputes are intense. According to the new survey, three-in-ten Americans (30%) say there are “very strong conflicts” between poor people and rich people. That is double the proportion that offered a similar view in July 2009 and the largest share expressing this opinion since the question was first asked in 1987.

In the past two years, the proportion of whites who say there are strong conflicts between the rich and the poor has grown by 22 percentage points to 65%.

That is more than triple the increase among blacks or Hispanics. The result is that the “perceptions gap” between blacks and whites on class conflict has been cut in half, while among Hispanics the difference has disappeared and may have reversed.

Excerpted from Rising Share of Americans See Conflict Between Rich and Poor

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