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Income inequality

People in poverty and the super rich think they’re in the middle class


Updated January 08, 2019 08:00 AM EST

Editor's note: This article was first published Dec. 4, 2018. We're bringing it back today in honor of War on Poverty Day, observed annually on Jan. 8.

WASHINGTON (CIRCA) — According to a new survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports, many Americans living in poverty mistakenly think they're in the middle class.

"We took a number of people who would officially be defined as living in poverty, according to the government stats," political analyst and data expert Scott Rasmussen told Circa.

"For example, we asked voters if a college student is living in an off-campus apartment with no income, but they're being supported by their parents, are they living in poverty? The majority of voters said no, but officially according to government statistics, they are living in poverty."

Rasmussen also found that no matter how far above or below the poverty line someone is, most people assume everyone above and below them is getting a better deal from the government.

Rasmussen says when he asked voters what they thought about someone who makes twice as much them, the most common response was, "Well, they're paying less than twice as much in taxes because, you know, they get breaks for being rich."

In contrast, when he asked voters what they thought about people who were making two times less than they were, they had a similar response. "They think someone who makes less is getting a better deal because they're getting more help from the government," he said.

Regardless of how much income they made, the majority of voters considered themselves to be in the middle class, "bearing more of the burden" by paying more taxes and getting less in return than those above and below them.


Student debt poll

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