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Inequality: Americans aware politics exists, poll finds

THE NEW Pew poll finding that 66% of Americans perceive a "strong" or "very strong" conflict between the rich and poor doesn't seem like such a big deal to me. As Ezra Klein notes, it's up 19% since 2009. That's the strongest finding. And it's higher than the percentage who see strong conflicts between whites and blacks, immigrants and native-born, or the old and the young. But the guts of the poll don't reveal much of interest. More Democrats than Republicans see the rich-poor conflict; no surprise. And 46% of respondents think rich people mostly earned their money through "knowing the right people or being born into wealthy families", while 43% think they got rich "of their own hard work, ambition or education". That's basically unchanged since 2008.In large measure, the poll seems to simply reflect Americans' awareness of the existence of increased political contention between income groups. That awareness is in and of itself significant: the most important struggle in politics (or in any negotiation) is the struggle over what issues will be put on the table. But this is something they would have absorbed if they were at all exposed to the media over the past six months or so. What I would have liked to see is a follow-up question: if you think there's a strong conflict between the rich and the poor, which side do you think is mainly at fault? That question ...