Rich vs. Poor: The Nation's Main Conflict?

According to a new Pew survey, Americans put the divide at the top of our list of problems.

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Today Slate is analyzing the results of a new Pew survey that says Americans believe that the greatest source of tension in the U.S. is now the conflict between the rich and poor (immigration issues used to hold the top spot).  Do we have the Occupy Wall Street movement to thank for this new focus?

Read more from Slate:

Two-thirds of respondents surveyed last month think there are "very strong" or "strong" conflicts between the wealthy and the poor in the country. That's an increase of 19 percentage points from those who answered the same question two years ago.

The New York Times spoke to Richard Morin, a senior editor at Pew Social & Demographic Trends, where the survey was conducted, who offered two apt pull quotes: "income inequality is no longer just for economists" and "it has moved off the business pages into the front page."

What may be just as telling as the perception of the growing conflict, is the divide over whether or not the richest [Americans] have earned the wealth they do have. As the Associated Press points out, just about an even number of people think the wealthy were born into their privilege (46 percent) as do those who believe they earned their economic success through their "own hard work, ambition, or education" (43 percent). 

Does this mean that more Americans will be ready to listen to Tavis Smiley and Cornel West's solutions for eradicating poverty? Read The Root's Cynthia Gordy's piece on their approach here.

Read the full results of the survey at the Pew Research Center's main page. 

Read more at Slate.

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