Why presidential candidates from Rubio to Clinton are talking income inequality

Washington (CNN)Presidential hopefuls talking about income inequality on the stump may encounter receptive audiences, a new poll shows.

About 63% of those surveyed by Gallup said the current distribution was unfair. That's a bit lower than in April 2008, just prior to the Great Recession, when 68% said the same. Shortly after the economy plummeted, the percentage of Americans saying wealth should be more evenly distributed dropped to 59% in 2009.
According to the latest survey, just 31% of Americans said they were okay with the current spread of wealth, and 6% said they didn't know or refused to answer.
Bush, Perry test their mettle in New Hampshire
Bush, Perry test their mettle in New Hampshire


    Bush, Perry test their mettle in New Hampshire


Bush, Perry test their mettle in New Hampshire 02:22
    Given public sentiment, it's no surprise, then, that both Democrats and Republicans are looking to claim the mantle of the downtrodden's hero this presidential election cycle.
    Hillary Clinton, poked along by actual rival Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and none-candidate but still influential Sen. Elizabeth Warren, has been weaving populist themes into her remarks since her campaign launch last month.
    "Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top," she said in her campaign rollout video. "Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion -- so you can do more than just get by -- you can get ahead."
    On the GOP side, Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio used their campaign annoucement events to outline the struggles their respective families faced during their childhoods. Both Rubio and Cruz's parents were Cuban immigrants who came to America with little money.
    "My father became a bartender. My mother a cashier, a maid and a Kmart stock clerk. They never made it big. But they were successful," Rubio said. "My parents achieved what came to be known as the American Dream. But now, too many Americans are starting to doubt whether achieving that dream is still possible."
    Other Republican candidates, like Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, have nudged the GOP to focus more on a delivering a message to the nation's poorest.
    Democrats, though, are more likely to believe that the current distribution of wealth should be more even: 86% of Democrats told Gallup they believe in a more equal distribution, compared to only 34% of Republicans.
    But just because most Americans holds this belief in theory does not mean that large majorities of those polled are in favor of heavy taxes on the rich in order to redistribute income. About 52% of national adults agreed with those high taxes.
    Gallup polled 1,015 adults early last month for a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.