Forty-six percent (46%) of voters nationwide favor providing every American with a guaranteed basic income of $1,000 a month. A ScottRasmussen.com national opinion survey found that 54% are opposed (see question wording and toplines).
We asked about the monthly total of $1,000 because that is close to the figure suggested by professors Philippe Van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght. Their book promoting a Universal Basic Income argues that it is essential for real freedom. However, the authors recognize that their approach clashes with the deeply ingrained and widely held belief that all who are able to work should support themselves.
While the professors argue that there should be no requirement to work for this income, that view is not widely shared. Among voters who express support for a guaranteed income, two-thirds say it should not be provided to those able to work but choosing not to work. As a result, just 15% of voters nationwide support the concept of Universal Basic Income as defined by its advocates.
A slight majority (54%) of the nation’s most liberal voters favor a guaranteed basic income with no work requirement. However that view is shared by just 19% of other liberals and 9% of moderate voters (see crosstabs).
A similar phenomenon was found when asking about support for Socialism. While 42% of voters express a positive opinion of Socialism, fewer than one-in-five support the ideology as it has traditionally been defined by its advocates.
The national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted August 19-20, 2018 for ScottRasmussen.com by HarrisX, a leading research company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology and sample Demographics). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.
Overall, there is far more support among voters for a guaranteed jobs program rather than a Universal Basic Income. Eighty-two percent (82%) of voters like the idea of ensuring that anybody willing to work can be guaranteed at least a minimum wage job. However, there is no consensus as to where the guarantee should come from.
Discussion about a Universal Basic Income has increased due to concerns about automation. In fact, 41% believe that automation and robots will lead to mass unemployment. Fifty-nine percent (59%) believe that these technologies will create new types of jobs and provide good opportunities for workers. One study last year estimated that the robot revolution will create 21 million new jobs to offset 19 million lost jobs.
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