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Poll Finds Californians See Wealth Gap Growing

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(Credit: BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

(Credit: BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

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SACRAMENTO (AP) – A majority of Californians are unhappy with the wealth and income gap in the state but are divided over whether the government should do more to intervene or whether to raise the minimum wage, according to a new Field Poll.

The survey released Wednesday finds that by a 54 percent to 38 percent margin Californians say they are dissatisfied with the way income and wealth are distributed. The view is shared by similar numbers of Democrats and Republicans and across virtually all age, income and gender groups.

Nearly six in 10 believe the gap between rich and poor is growing.

The findings come amid a national debate about low-wage workers and the widening gap between the wealthy and other people. In San Francisco, some residents have staged protests over rising rents, driven partly by a surge of wealthy high-tech workers from Silicon Valley moving into the city.

The state’s first increase in the minimum wage in six years also started Tuesday, rising to $9 an hour. It will climb to $10 an hour in 2016.

Nearly half of those surveyed by Field said the minimum wage should be raised even further, while 37 percent said the increases that are already taking effect are adequate. About one in 10 believe the rate has already been raised too much.

The income gap is also expected to play a role in this year’s race for governor, where Republican Neel Kashkari has sought to highlight California’s status as having the highest poverty rate in the nation as he challenges incumbent Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.

The Field Poll interviewed 1,020 adults from June 5-22. The poll has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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