Gallup has asked the question at least once during the administration of three Republican presidents — Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush — and two Democrats, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. But there is no generally consistent pattern across these administrations. For example, the slightly lower percentage favoring a more even distribution during the Obama administration started in the final year of George W. Bush’s administration — after the onset of the financial crisis.

Wealth distribution is a key polarizing issue in contemporary U.S. politics. Partisan reactions to this question reflect that polarization, with more than eight in 10 Democrats saying money and wealth need to be more evenly distributed, compared with 28% of Republicans. There is a similar, although less extreme, divide between the views of liberals — 79% of whom say money and wealth should be more evenly distributed — and those of conservatives (41%).