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Gallup Updates Question on Social Class

When Gallup updated its question on social class in early April, 1 percent of respondents said they belonged in the upper class, 17 percent in the upper-middle class, 46 percent in the middle class, 28 percent in the working class, and 7 percent in the lower class. [IMGCAP(1)]

When the question was asked nearly three years ago, 3 percent claimed to be upper class, while15 said upper-middle class. Forty-eight percent said they were middle class, while the working class and lower class were 30 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

Among Democrats in the recent poll, the proportions were 2 percent, 15 percent, 44 percent, 30 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Among Republicans, 1, 23, 50, 21 and 4 percent, respectively.

In the survey, only two groups — people with postgraduate educations and those making $75,000 or more a year (the top income category in the poll) — were disproportionately represented among the upper class.

Inherited Wealth, Retirement Needs and the Estate Tax. In Gallup’s April survey on sources of retirement income, 7 percent said they expected money from an inheritance to be a major source of their retirement income, 31 percent a minor source and 60 percent not a source at all. The responses were similar to the ones Gallup received when the same question was asked in 2001 and 2002.

In their Feb. 5-March 17 poll on taxes, National Public Radio, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Kennedy School provided new data on the estate tax. Fifty-seven percent wanted to eliminate the tax and 15 percent wanted to keep it. When those in favor of elimination were asked why, 92 percent chose the response that the money had already been taxed once and shouldn’t be taxed again, 62 percent that it affects too many people, 69 percent that it might affect them personally, and 74 percent that it might force the sale of small businesses and family farms.

Of those opposed to eliminating the tax, 58 percent said they opposed elimination because the tax affects only the wealthiest Americans who can afford to pay it, 63 percent said that it was a good way for the government to raise revenue, 53 percent that it limits the power and influence of wealth and 46 percent that wealthy people should give something back to the country.

Tony Blair at Home and Here. In the March Market & Opinion Research International poll, 43 percent of British citizens were satisfied and 48 percent dissatisfied with the way Tony Blair was doing his job as British prime minister. Those figures represent an improvement from February, when his numbers were 31 percent satisfied and 61 percent dissatisfied.

When people were asked in March which party they were most inclined to support if the election were held today, Labor trounced the Conservatives, 46 percent to 27 percent.

In the United States, when Gallup asked people about Blair in a late January-early February poll, 72 percent had a favorable opinion and 9 percent unfavorable (up from 58 percent and 8 percent in December 1998).

In the mid-April Princeton Survey Research Associates and Pew Research Center poll, President Bush had a 72 percent favorable rating and 25 percent unfavorable. Blair had a 68 percent favorable rating and a 10 percent unfavorable.

Military Men: Powell and Franks. In the April 22-23 Fox News and Opinion Dynamics poll, 82 percent approved of the job that Colin Powell was doing as secretary of State (11 percent disapproved). An identical number approved of the job Gen. Tommy Franks was doing as U.S. military commander in Iraq (6 percent disapproved).

Party Standing. In April 10-15 polling, Harris Interactive updated its ratings on views of Republican and Democrats in Congress. In the latest poll, 52 percent gave the Republicans in Congress an excellent or good rating compared with 39 percent for Democrats. Democrats in Congress have led Republicans in only one of 16 polls Harris has taken since Bush assumed the presidency. In many polls they were fairly evenly matched, but starting in September 2002 Republicans in Congress opened up a lead.

In mid-April, when the Pew Research Center asked people for views about the Democratic and Republican parties, 63 percent had a favorable view of the Republican Party and 57 percent had a favorable view of the Democratic Party. Republicans opened up their small lead after Pew’s July poll.

Low Profile? Sixty-nine percent of self-identified Democrats in the mid-April Pew Research Center poll could not spontaneously name any candidates running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2004, nor could 68 percent of Republicans. In May 1991, 76 percent of the total sample could not name a Democrat running in 1992.

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