Over the past two years the number of Americans who say there is a “very strong” or “strong” conflict between the rich and the poor has skyrocketed. According to Pew Research, in 2009 only 47 percent of Americans said there was a very strong or strong conflict between the rich and the poor. That number has now jumped to 66 percent, a 19 point gain in just two years.
While there is some partisan divide on the issue, a majority of individuals in every partisan group, Democrats, Independents and Republicans, now say there is at least a strong conflict between the rich and the poor.
Much of the rapid change in public opinion is the result of white Americans now becoming much more aware of the serious class conflict in our society. From Pew:
While blacks are still more likely than whites see serious class conflicts, the share of whites who hold this view has increased by 22 percentage points, to 65%, since 2009. At the same time, the proportion of blacks (74%) and Hispanics (61%) sharing this judgment has grown by single digits (8 and 6 points, respectively).
It would be hard to see this rather rapid change in public opinion as anything but a real victory for the Occupy movement, which is heavily focused on the growing economic inequality in this country. The Occupy movement managed to change the national conversation. It caused the media to talk about the issue of income inequality.