According to The Hill, 57% of registered voters who were contacted by the Hill-HarrisX poll were opposed to giving Americans $1,000 per month. Only 43% of those contacted supported it. Most younger respondents said that they supported universal basic income (UBI), while older respondents overwhelmingly disapproved.
55% of voters from the ages 18 through 34 supported UBI, as did 53% of voters between the ages of 35 and 49. For voters older than 65, only 21% supported UBI, and only 38% of respondents between the ages of 50 and 64 were in favor of giving a monthly minimum income.
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang supports the policy. "The figures actually do confirm what I'm seeing on the ground is that young people are very excited about a new economy that puts people first," Yang said.
Yang thinks more Americans will support the idea once they learn more about the issue, and learn how many jobs will be impacted by advances in artificial intelligence.
"I'm very confident that you're going to see those numbers just keep on trending up because people are waking up to the reality that we need to go bigger in an age of artificial intelligence and self driving cars and trucks," he said.
Paul Glastris, the editor in chief of progressive magazine Washington Monthly, was also unsurprised by the generational divide.
"Anyone under the age of 40-45 has lived through a pretty horrible economy where starting salaries are not what they used to be, you've got student debt problems, housing is out of reach in a lot of places, wage increases have been minimal," he said. "So your entire professional life has been in an economy that hasn't helped you make it."
Partisan differences were also observable in the poll. 54% of Democrats favor UBI and only 27% of Republicans support it. Independents were mostly opposed to UBI, only 44% approved.
More, only 37% of suburban voters favored UBI while 54% of urban residents supported it. 44% of rural voters supported the idea as well.
UBI proposals have only started gaining popularity very recently. They initially attracted right-leaning economists, such as Milton Friedman, who said they could be a substitute for social welfare programs. Mark Zuckerberg has also promoted the idea, saying basic incomes are a way to assist those whose livelihoods are disrupted by technology.
Opponents of UBI claim that the programs could cause inflation, become too expensive, or not do enough to address economic inequality.