Survey: 61% of voters making over $125,000 oppose free cash handouts to Americans

Andrew Yang in his campaign headquarters in February 2019.
CNBC Make It

The idea of a free cash handout for every U.S. citizen is unpopular among older, wealthier adults.

That's according to a survey of 1,006 registered voters from across the United States conducted from June 22 to June 25 by the data research company Echelon Insights.

The survey found 61% of survey respondents with an income level of more than $125,000 per year report being either "somewhat opposed" or "strongly opposed" to the $1,000-per-month cash payment proposed by 2020 presidential hopeful Andrew Yang in his bid for the White House.

Yang, 44, an entrepreneur who is running as a Democrat, has made universal basic income, which he calls the "Freedom Dividend," the central tenet of his campaign. If implemented, the government would issue a $1,000 check each month to all U.S. citizens ages 18 and over.

Chart courtesy Echelon Insights

While Yang's proposal is unpopular among wealthier adults, less than one quarter — or 23% — of survey respondents who make less than $30,000 per year opposed the cash payment. Opposition to the $1,000-per-month cash handout grows as a respondent's annual salary gets bigger.

The survey also found that opposition to Yang's universal basic income proposal was much more common in older respondents.

Of surveyed registered voters, a clear majority — 68% — of those who are 65 and above oppose the idea of giving free cash handouts to every American citizen aged 18 and over. Meanwhile only 28% of registered voters between the ages of 18 and 29 oppose Yang's Freedom Dividend, according to the survey.

Chart courtesy Echelon Insights

Politically, support for Yang's universal basic income plan splits largely along party lines: two-thirds of Republicans oppose Yang's cash handouts (67%) while only a quarter of Democrats oppose it (26%), according to the survey.

However, Yang has suggested that Republican opposition is not exactly an insurmountable obstacle to putting his proposal into action. In a recent "Ask Me Anything" question-and-answer session on Reddit, Yang said if he were to be elected president and needed Congress to pass his universal basic income payment into law, Republicans would be unable to vote against free cash for the people who live in their districts.

Chart courtesy Echelon Insights

"Cash is a hard thing to demonize. It's tough for Mitch McConnell to argue, 'The money will hurt you,'" Yang said in July.

While McConnell has not specifically spoken out against Yang's Freedom Dividend, the Senate Majority Leader was clear in an October 2018 interview about his desire to reduce government spending and the growing budget deficit by making cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security. That stance would seem to put McConnell at odds with Yang on the issue of universal basic income. McConnell's press office had not responded to CNBC's request for comment by the time this story was published.

Two emails to Yang's campaign team seeking response to the survey results had not been answered by the time this story was published.

See also:

Meet Andrew Yang, the 44-year-old running for president who wants to give Americans $1,000 free cash per month

Billionaire Ray Dalio: U.S. economy must change or there will be 'conflict' between the rich and poor

Why billionaire and presidential hopeful Tom Steyer drives a 2016 Chevy

This 2020 presidential candidate wants to pay every adult US citizen $1,000 a month
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