Americans See 'Strong' Class Warfare

It now out-ranks racial, generational conflict
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2012 9:31 AM CST
Occupy Wall Street protesters and New York Police clash over poice barricades at Zuccotti Park Saturday Dec. 31, 2011 in New York.   (AP Photo/Stephanie Keith)
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(Newser) – The number of Americans who think the rich and poor are in serious conflict has exploded over the past two years, with a whopping 67% now rating conflicts between the classes as either "strong" or "very strong," according to a new Pew Research poll—a 19-point jump from 2009. That means the public sees class as an even bigger source of conflict than immigration, race relations, or generational differences.

"It's kind of amazing," the study's author tells the Washington Post, noting that perception of the conflict's intensity is up as well—the number of people considering tensions "very strong" doubled to 30%. "That's what makes it striking and politically important." Still, not everyone who saw the tensions condemned the rich; 43% believe most wealthy people got that way through "their own hard work," just behind the 46% who believe it's because "they know the right people or were born into wealthy families." (Read more Pew Research Center stories.)

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