Gallup poll: Americans split on universal basic income for workers displaced by AI

Gallup poll: Americans split on universal basic income for workers displaced by AI
© Getty Images

The American public is split on the prospect of giving a universal basic income to Americans who lose their jobs to artificial intelligence, according to a new poll.

In a Gallup and Northeastern University poll released Monday, 48 percent of those surveyed said they would support a universal basic income (UBI) compared to 52 percent who said they would oppose it.

There was a large difference in responses based on respondents' political identification.

ADVERTISEMENT

Of respondents who said they are Democrats, 65 percent said they would support UBI, while only 28 percent of Republicans said they would support the measure.

Support for UBI also varies by gender, age and education levels.

Of the men surveyed, 43 percent would support the UBI while 52 percent of women polled said they would back it.

Younger Americans, aged 18-35, are most likely to support UBI, at 54 percent, while only 38 percent of respondents 66 and older supported UBI.

Those with bachelor's degrees are more likely to support it, at 51 percent, than those without, at 42 percent.

While many Americans are divided on UBI as an answer to the potential economic harms of automation, they are more in step with who would have to pay for UBI measures if enacted.

Forty-six percent of those polled said they would be willing to pay higher taxes to fund UBI.

Those polled, however, expressed overwhelming support for companies paying this type of “robot tax,” with 80 percent saying that companies benefitting most from the AI should help cover the cost of a hypothetical UBI.

UBI, which only several years ago was floated as a fringe idea, has gained increased support as the potential for job displacement becomes more real with the proliferation of AI.

Technology CEOs like Facebook’s Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — NFL social media accounts hacked | Dem questions border chief over controversial Facebook group | Clinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views Clinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views on misinformation Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — UN calls for probe into alleged Saudi hack of Bezos | Experts see effort to 'silence' Washington Post | Bezos tweets tribute to Khashoggi MORE and Salesforce’s Marc Benioff have argued that a UBI could be useful.

Bill Gates has specifically argued for a “robot tax” on companies who replace human workers with AI.

Major politicians like former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHill.TV's Krystal Ball: Failure to embrace Sanders as nominee would 'destroy' Democratic Party Clinton says she feels the 'urge' to defeat Trump in 2020 Can Democrats flip the Texas House? Today's result will provide a clue MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNew campaign ad goes after Sanders by mentioning heart attack Biden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Steyer rebukes Biden for arguing with supporter he thought was Sanders voter MORE (I-Vt.) have expressed interest in the policy.