The Politics of the Top 1 PercentBy JOHN SIDES
What are the political attitudes of the very wealthy? How, and how much, do they differ from the less wealthy? The combination of growing inequality, a weak economy, and Occupy Wall Street’s ability to focus political debate on inequality makes the answers to these questions particularly relevant.
One answer to these questions comes from a new analysis by Gallup that made the rounds last week. By aggregating 61 polls from 2009-2011, they were able to measure the opinions of about 400 respondents with annual incomes of $500,000 or above. Gallup reports only modest differences in their party identification: 57 percent of the 1 percent identify as or lean Republican, compared to 44 percent of the 99 percent. There are virtually no differences in how they identify ideologically: 39 percent of the 1 percent identify as conservative, compared to 40 percent of the 99 percent.
But the Gallup analysis may overstate the similarity of the two groups. A second study, authored by the political scientists Benjamin Page, Fay Lomax Cook, and Rachel Moskowitz and recently released by the Russell Sage Foundation, found that the politics of the very wealthy are strikingly different
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