By Alex Dobuzinskis
Jan 11 (Reuters) - Americans believe that there is
more conflict between rich and poor than between immigrants and
the native-born or between blacks and whites, according to a Pew
Research Center opinion survey released on Wednesday.
Researchers found 30 percent of Americans say there are
"very strong conflicts" between the poor and the rich, which is
the largest share expressing that opinion since the question was
first asked in 1987, the Pew report said.
In all, 66 percent of respondents to the Pew survey said
there are either "very strong" or "strong" conflicts between
rich and poor.
Democrats, younger adults, women and blacks were the most
likely to say they perceived signs of class conflict,
By comparison, 62 percent of Americans say immigrants and
the native-born have strong conflicts with each other, compared
with 47 percent in 2009, the Pew Center said. In the 2009
survey, more Americans believed there were conflicts over
immigrants than over wealth.
The new survey suggested racial conflict is ebbing, with
only 38 percent of respondents saying there are serious
conflicts between blacks and whites, while 34 percent said such
emnity exists between the young and the old.
The Pew Center said the results do not necessarily mean more
Americans believe the wealthy are at fault for a class divide,
since some individuals who see more conflict may believe anger
at the wealthy is misdirected.
The Pew survey further found that 46 percent of Americans
believe the rich got their wealth from knowing the right people
or being born into the right families, while 43 percent said
wealth came from hard work, ambition or education.
Pew, an independent research organization, said its report
was based on findings from a telephone survey of 2,048 adults
conducted from Dec. 6 to Dec. 19 and which had a margin of error
of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
Income inequality promises to be an issue in this November's
U.S. presidential campaign. The Occupy Wall Street movement also
has seized upon the issue.
The most recent U.S. Census Bureau data shows the proportion
of overall wealth held by the top 10 percent of the population
rose to 56 percent in 2009 from 49 percent in 2005, the report
(Reporting By Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Greg McCune and Eric
© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.