Poll: U.S. adults oppose universal basic income; Canadians, Britons favor it

A view of a robot on display at the 2019 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 10. A Universal Basic Income program would support workers displaced by robots, but a recent Gallup survey showed that a slight majority of U.S. adults don't support such a program. File Photo by James Atoa/UPI

Oct. 1 (UPI) — About 43 percent of U.S. adults favor a universal basic income to support workers displaced by artificial intelligence, compared with a majority of Britons and Canadians, Gallup said Monday.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang have endorsed the idea of a UBI program. The survey by Gallup and Northeastern University found that a slight majority of U.S. adults opposed it, while 77 percent in Britain and 75 percent in Canada favored it.

UBI was defined in the survey as a government-instituted program that would provide every adult with a specific amount of money each year, and serve as income support for people whose jobs were displaced through advances in artificial intelligence.

Within the next decade, up to half of jobs are expected to be automated, according to some estimates.

Across the board, women were more likely to favor UBI than men, and younger adults, 18-29, were more likely to favor the program than older adults.

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In the United States, a slight majority of U.S. adults under 49 favored UBI program, but the overall majority opposed it with only 34 percent of adults over 50 and 32 percent of adults over 65 in favor of it.

Among U.S. adults who supported the UBI program, 75 percent were willing to pay higher taxes for it, compared to 53 percent in Britain and 49 percent in Canada.

Most UBI supporters also said companies that benefit most from advancements in artificial intelligence should pay more taxes to fund UBI program.

The U.S. survey was based on a random sample of 4,394 adults, conducted from April 25 to May 9, with a 1.93 percentage point margin of error. Results from Canada and Britain were based on self-administered web surveys provided by Dynata of 3,049 Canadian and 3,208 British adults. The Canada survey was conducted from May 31 to June 4. The British survey was conducted from May 1 to May 10.

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