Poll: 76 percent think economic structure is out of balance

Zachary Roth
Senior National Affairs Reporter
The Lookout

Polls taken in recent weeks have suggested that the basic message of the Occupy Wall Street protesters--that too much of country's economic gains go to the very richest Americans, and too little to ordinary folks--is popular. And a new survey offers further evidence.

Seventy-six percent of respondents to a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll say they agree with a statement that essentially conveys the protesters' platform. Sixty percent say they strongly agree with it.

The statement reads: "The current economic structure of the country is out of balance, and favors a very small proportion of the rich over the rest of the country. America needs to reduce the power of major banks and corporations and demand greater accountability and transparency. The government should not provide financial aid to corporations and should not provide tax breaks to the rich."

Still, a statement that aligns closely with what Republicans say we should do about the economy--cutting spending, scrapping regulations, and not raising taxes, even on the rich--also receives significant, though lower, support. Fifty-three percent say they agree with that platform, with 33 percent saying they strongly agree.

Here is how that statement reads: "The national debt must be cut significantly by reducing spending and the size of government, including eliminating some federal agencies and programs. Regulations on businesses by the federal government should be reduced and instead, the private sector and individuals should have greater control. The government should not raise taxes on anyone."

The poll also offers some bleak news about Americans' views of the long-term economic future of the country. A clear majority of respondents, 54 percent, say we're in the start of an era of national decline, setting the stage for the United States to forfeit its position as the leading country in the world.

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