Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images.
Here's one sign that the Occupy Wall Street movement might be having a lasting effect on the American public:
Americans believe that the greatest source of tension in the U.S. is now the conflict between the rich and poor, taking the top spot from immigration issues, a new Pew survey is reporting.
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 American 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).
While the Occupy movement dominated headlines in recent months, a wealth of reporting and data on the issue of economic inequality also brought the topic front and center for many Americans. The AP explains: "In recent weeks, a slew of recent census data have illustrated a widening divide, including the share of overall U.S. wealth held by the top 10 percent of the population that increased from 49 percent in 2005 to 56 percent in 2009."
For the full results on the survey, check out the Pew Research Center's main page.