While President Barack Obama was often accused of inciting class warfare during the recent presidential campaign, the results of a Pew Research survey released Thursday showed that Americans perceive less conflict between the rich and the poor than before the campaign began.
The poll showed 58 percent of Americans think there are "strong" or "very strong" conflicts between the rich and the poor.
While the figure still represents a majority, it is well below the 66 percent who said the same in a survey conducted in December of 2011.
Pew said the data does not provide a clear explanation for the decline but noted that the 2011 survey was conducted in the weeks after the Occupy Wall Street movement focused national attention on the significant income inequality in the U.S.
Most major demographic groups saw a drop in the proportion of Americans that see major conflicts between the rich and the poor, although the biggest decreases were seen among women and middle-income adults.
The poll showed that Democrats were significantly more likely than Republicans to see strong conflicts between the rich and poor, while political independents fell squarely in the middle.
The proportion of Americans that see "strong" or "very strong" conflicts between immigrants and the native born also showed a notable decrease, falling to 55 percent in 2012 from 62 percent in 2011.
Meanwhile, the survey found that 81 percent of Americans see "strong" or "very strong" conflicts between Republicans and Democrats.
Pew noted that a larger share of the public sees major partisan conflict than see similarly large disputes between rich and poor, immigrants and native born, blacks and whites or the old and the young.
The survey of 2,511 adults was conducted from November 28th through December 5th and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.
by RTT Staff Writer
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