The majority of Australians and Europeans support unconditional regular cash transfers to all citizens, a policy commonly known as a universal basic income (UBI). Separate polls over the past few months have found broad support for a UBI across approximately two-thirds of respondents.
People in the United States are much less enthusiastic, with support hovering at 40 – 49% in various polls. This may change in the future, now that 93% of the US population received $600 stimulus cheques in recent weeks.
Is a Universal Basic Income Popular?
In countries not quite so allergic to “socialism,” a universal basic income is much more popular. One European poll showed popular support for a UBI ranging from 83% in Poland and 73% in Portugal down to a low of 52% in France (of the six countries polled).
Overall support across Europe was 65% of respondents. This figure was slightly higher amongst women than men and remarkably stable across age groups. This latter point is a notable difference from the American results, where a UBI has majority support among those under the age of 50 but low support among older voters.
A powerful piece of data was the response to why people would support a UBI. Of nine options, the most popular was, “It would make me feel less anxious about my future.” Closely behind, around a third of people said they would be “free from people I am currently dependent on for money/security,” a finding with clear implications for gender violence.
A poll conducted in the UK showed 51% of the population support a UBI. Only 24% of respondents in that poll were opposed.
The results follow a similar poll carried out in Australia and commissioned by the Green Institute, affiliated with the Greens. The poll found net support among Australians for a universal basic income of 58%, with a further 25% saying they are neutral or don’t know.
The polling data – and the different policy options to realise the ambition – firmly position the UBI as a major imminent goal for social justice and political progress.
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