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US: New POLITICO/Morning Consult poll finds that 43% of Americans are in favour of a UBI

A new poll POLITICO/Morning Consult conducted between the 14th and 17th September 2017 surveying 1,994 registered US voters, found that, of those asked whether they would support or oppose ‘a proposal in which the government would provide all Americans a regular, unconditional sum of money, sometimes referred to as universal basic income’, 43% either ‘strongly supported’ or ‘somewhat supported’ the idea.

 

The subgroup data showed that 23% ‘strongly supported’ the notion, 20% ‘somewhat supported’ it, 14% ‘somewhat opposed’ it, 25% ‘strongly opposed’ it, and 18% ‘didn’t know’ or ‘had no opinion’ on the idea. Males were slightly more in favour than females, with 46% compared to 39% supporting the idea. The breakdown by  age showed that younger people were more receptive to the idea of a UBI than older people, with 48% of 18-29 year olds supportive of the idea compared with 32% against, while 52% of 30-44 year olds were supportive of the idea compared with 33% against. Within the 45-54 year old age group, 43% were in favour versus 39% against. Though 55-64 year olds were more opposed to a UBI than were supportive of it, 41% were still in favour of the proposal. Support amongst the over 65s was only at 30%, with 49% of this age group opposing the concept.

 

Of those who identified as having a ‘liberal ideology’, 32% ‘strongly supported’ and 27% ‘somewhat supported’ the proposal. Only 26% of this group either ‘somewhat opposed’ or ‘strongly opposed’ the idea. Consistent with what might be expected, those who identified as having a ‘moderate ideology’ were marginally more supportive of the proposal than opposed it: 44% against 39%; and those who identified as having a ‘conservative ideology’ were significantly more in opposition of it than they were supportive: 60% against 26%. Slightly surprisingly, given that highly educated adults – particularly those who have attended graduate school – are far more likely than those with less education to take predominantly liberal positions, there was a trend away from support of the proposal the more education the respondents had received. Of those who did not hold qualifications from college or higher, 46% were in general support of a UBI, compared with 38% of those with bachelor’s degrees and 34% of those with postgraduate degrees. A majority of those holding higher-education qualifications: 50% of those with bachelor’s degrees and 53% of those with postgraduate degrees, were in opposition to the proposal.

 

Those with lower incomes were more supportive of the idea than those with higher incomes. Amongst those with an annual income of $50k or less, 47% were either  ‘strongly supportive of’ or ‘somewhat supportive of’ a UBI, compared with 41% of those with an annual income of between $50k and $100k, and only 29% of those with an annual income of more than $100k. Consistent with ethnic wealth distribution in the US, fewer identifying as ethnically white were supportive of the idea than were identifying as Hispanic or African American. Of the latter group, 61% were either ‘strongly supportive of’ or ‘somewhat supportive of’ the idea of a UBI, compared with 51% of those identifying as Hispanic and 39% of those identifying as white. The support, across the different employment sectors – private, government, self-employed, homemaker, student, retired, unemployment, other – was fairly consistent, ranging from 43% to 50% being generally supportive of the concept, with only the retired segment – in line with the results from the breakdown by age demographic – being generally opposed to the idea, where only 33% were ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ supportive.

 

Geographically – Northeast, Midwest, South, West – there was not a great deal of fluctuation either in support of or in opposition to a UBI, with figures hovering around the overall averages. Urban communities were more receptive than suburban or rural communities, with 52% being generally supportive against 40% and 39% respectively.

 

For proponents of a UBI, the overall results compare favourably against a poll conducted by YouGov US and the Huffington Post on January 7th and 8th in 2014. When asked whether they would ‘favor or oppose expanding Social Security to every American, regardless of age, to guarantee a basic income to every American’, only 18% said they would ‘strongly favor’ the idea with an additional 17% saying they would ‘somewhat favor’, compared with 16% who said they would ‘somewhat oppose’ and 38% who would ‘strongly oppose’ the notion. The increasing popularity of a UBI in the US was also consistent with a poll conducted toward the end of 2016 by 50+1 Strategies and David Binder Research on behalf of the Economic Security Project, which found that, of the 500 people surveyed, 46% of were in favour of the idea, with 35 percent opposed and 19 percent undecided.

 

More information at:

Morning Consult and Politico, ‘Morning Consult National Tracking Poll #170911’, September 14th-17th, 2017

Pew Research Center, ‘A Wider Ideological Gap Between More and Less Educated Adults: Political polarization update’, PeoplePress.org, April 26th, 2016

Peter Moore, ‘Poll Results: Guaranteed jobs and basic income’, YouGov.com, January 9th, 2014

Patrick Caughill, ‘Survey Reveals Nearly 50% of Americans Favor a Universal Basic Income’, Futurism.com, December 20th, 2016

 

About Patrick Hoare

Patrick Hoare has written 7 articles.

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2 comments

  • Stephen

    Recently was having this discussion with some group members and thought it is time to clear things up. For those of you still confused about why Universal Basic Income (UBI) is not associated with Communism but is actually more closely related to Capitalism let me explain my personal interpretation- (Happy to discuss responses in due time).
    Communism is a system that exploits people by giving them just enough or substantially less then needed to survive. Consequently persons who live in communist societies have restricted economic freedoms. People who live in hard-line communist countries have no work choices but rather are forced into industry roles by the government based on requirement and demand. Communism has no free market as privately owned enterprises are virtually non existent. Therefore marketplace competition is minimal which means technological progress does not occur as rapidly. Communism has no minimum wage, it has no potential allowance for minimum income (UBI), is has only minimal money given to citizens and forced occupational labour (i.e. if you don’t work then you could starve to death or need to depend on family support, ect). This is how North Korea works with the leader using public funds at his own total discretion and influence within his political social group in order to maintain and create further power.
    Capitalism is an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations. In Capitalism wealth is generated for individuals and the state by private individuals and corporations. This means capitalism has more liberal possibilities for distribution and creation of wealth across the board to its citizens. Capitalism results in faster technological progress (then communism) as a result of competition in the private sector resulting in wealth (i.e. IT and Robotics) further contributing to the growth of publicly available funds available for governmental allocation (i.e. potentially a UBI). UBI is a political ideology which liberally allows for the needs of a countries citizens economic needs to be met unconditionally with the goal of reducing the risk of poverty and to increase the overall quality of life of the people. It actually frees up work choices by allowing for persons to have their basic economic needs met unconditionally. This is essentially the polar opposite of communism which forces people into workplaces based on government requirement and pays them scarcely.

  • Seems like a good political platform for politicians around the world. Also while expensive, one needs to account for the increased economic activity, multiplier effects, etc. Like the other post it is not socialism, but it is giving money down to the individual level and letting the market determine what goods and services will be produced and at what prices and by those who are best at providing them. Hayek economics.

    Certainly benefit the people, whom the government is meant to serve and whom vote to determine who gets to serve them. At a minimum it should be part of the political debate.

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