1% Wannabees: Americans Envy, Disdain the Richest 1%, Study Finds
Source: Market Watch
New Survey Finds Americans Believe That Richest Americans Live a Pampered Life, Don't Work that Hard and Don't Pay Enough in Taxes
It's official: Americans don't think very highly of the people in the so-called 1%, but they wouldn't mind joining them, according to a new survey released today that examines the views on the richest of Americans.
Americans believe that the so-called 1% - the richest Americans that have raised the ire of the Occupy Movement - live a life of luxury, pampering and ease, don't have to work that hard and don't pay enough in taxes considering their lofty status, according to the joint survey conducted by 463 Communications and JZ Analytics.
Just who belong makes up the 1% is a point of disagreement among the Americans polled in the survey. The majority (52 percent) believes that one needs to earn at least $1 million a year to make it into the most elite income club. Contrast that with IRS data indicating that a salary of about $350,000 is enough to put someone in the 1%.
Even though Americans generally overestimated the amount of money they'd need to be in the 1%, three times as many - a full three percent of those polled - claimed to be in that upper echelon. Liberals were three times more likely to say they are in the top 1% than conservatives (6 percent to 1.9 percent). Least likely to view themselves in the 1% were independents, Born Again Christians and those in the suburbs.
"The question the survey provokes is do Americans understand who is in the so-called 1%? Is it Donald Trump landing on a rooftop in a helicopter or a well-off soccer mom in a minivan? The answer is it could be both," said Tom Galvin, CEO of 463 Communications. "At a time of economic uncertainty and upheaval, it's clear many Americans have a love/hate relationship with wealth and those who have it."
So how do Americans think the 1% live? Pretty well, it turns out. The majority of Americans believe they fly on private jets (60 percent), have two or more homes (73 percent) have luxury seats for entertainment and sporting events (63 percent), take overseas vacations annually (67 percent) and fly first class (63 percent).
Americans also believe members of the 1% pay to have life's tedious duties taken care of for them. The majority of Americans believe that the 1% has someone to cook for them in their home (59 percent), clean their house (77 percent), a personal assistant (66 percent) and a gardener/groundskeeper (78 percent) to keep their lawn in shape.
Americans think the 1% is most likely to be a financial executive, entrepreneur, have inherited a business or, be a politician or lobbyist. Real estate, education or being a doctor or lawyer aren't viewed as the path to the 1%, according to the survey.
But whatever the 1% is doing, it's not viewed as very difficult. Only one in six Americans think the 1% works harder than a typical American - and a whopping 68 percent said that the richest of the rich either works about as hard or not as hard.
Maybe that's why 61 percent believe that the 1% is not paying enough in taxes. Only one in 4 - or 24 percent - said that they were paying enough. "It's not difficult to see why there is some finger pointing toward the 1%, given what people believe about them," said Chad Bohnert, CMO of JZ Analytics.
But whether they don't work very hard, or pay enough in taxes, or lead a life of luxury, there is one more thing Americans think about the 1%: They want to be one of them. By a nearly 3:1 margin - 64 percent to 23 percent - Americans report they'd like to be in that club. And that desire cuts across political party or ideology, whether Americans support the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street movement.
The online survey of 1,000 adults was conduced Jan. 11-13, 2012. For complete results, please contact Lauren Sacks at (202) 463-0013, ext. 207 or Lauren.Sacks@463.com.
About 463 Communications
463 Communications is a senior-level communications consultancy focused on corporate and public policy leadership. We help our clients create and execute issues-based campaigns that are disciplined and measurable. We put organizations on the offense where they may have once been reactive.
About JZ Analytics
The JZ Analytics team members bring more than 100 years of combined research experience to our projects, including four successful Presidential election cycles and many off- year state and local elections since 1994. As former employees of Zogby International we have been known worldwide for our ability to empower clients with powerful information and knowledge critical for making informed strategic decisions.