In fact, critics argued that the poll was biased because the sole question on the subject was How Big A Problem is Income Inequality in the US? Choices consisted of Not sure, Not a problem at all, Not much of a problem, Somewhat of a problem, and Big problem. The issue critics have is that there is no metadata here, no über-question like But does this matter to you relative to other things?
Are the critics right? Gallup thought so, and rephrased the entire issue by having Americans prioritize their economic problems. What a very set of answers they got.
Out of 26 common economic issues, the income inequality issue rated... (drum roll) 18th, just above foreign aid. That ranking correlates to only 2% of Americans ranking that as the biggest issue. So, to The Hill, yes: 55% of Americans think income equality is important, but only 98% of Americans rank it quite low as a list of things to tackle.
The poll shows more. The top 5 issues, equating to about 63% of Americans, heavily favor Republicans:
- Jobs/Unemployment 26%
- National debt/Federal budget deficit 16%
- Continuing economic decline/Economic instability 10%
- Outsourcing of jobs overseas/Create jobs here in U.S. 6%
- Obama not doing a good job/No plan/Lack of leadership 5%
Gallup is not a right-wing organization, by any means.
Should a Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum continue to hammer on these points, they can see their poll numbers tick up past Obamas, for the top five items alone are positions the Obama campaign cannot defend. And only a few items on the list could be used against the GOP, and then (a) only as a stretch and (b) with the rejoinder that few Americans seem to rank those issues as important.
You should read the whole list of items, though, because it is interesting how low some arguments rank.
Further, or perhaps finally, this poll shows that the average American is way more in tune with the economy than the Democrats think... want. As much as we hammer our GOP candidates for their uninspiring insipidity, this poll shows their arguments are getting through.
The next poll could ask another question the Czar has been suspecting: When thinking about income inequality, are you basically thinking of poor Americans across the board, or mostly thinking that you, yourself, would like a lot more money than you have? Bet you get a very interesting answer there, too.