Musk is particularly popular among American men, according to a poll of tech leaders

The data suggest that the days when the super-rich were widely respected as job creators, titans of industry and thought leaders are over. Now they face a sceptical public. That is partly because the epidemic of the past year has given the super-rich a huge boost in influence. But at the same time, respondents rejected far-left criticism about the personalities of the super-rich themselves and their impact on the American way of life.


Only 23 per cent of respondents said they thought billionaires were role models for the US, while 65 per cent said no. Similarly, only 36 per cent of respondents said their overall feelings about billionaires were positive, while as many as 49 per cent held a negative view. But the black community is a little different. Forty-five percent of black respondents had a positive view of billionaires, compared with 39 percent who had a negative view. Democrats are also more hostile to billionaires than Republicans.

But the poll also shows that Americans still believe that billionaires are legitimate and that it is not society's fault that they exist. Some 82 percent agreed that billionaires should be allowed. Similarly, 68 per cent do not think it is immoral for society to have billionaires.

What do Americans think of billionaires' philanthropy

Respondents still gave a positive response when it came to billionaires' philanthropy. When asked whether billionaires do a better job of giving to good causes, 47% agreed and 33% disagreed.

Musk is particularly popular among American men, according to a poll of tech leaders

But they also argue that these public services are not enough to solve America's inequality. Questions were asked about whether raising taxes or seeking more relief from the wealthy would better solve the country's problems during the epidemic. Fifty-two percent chose the former, while only 38 percent chose the latter.

What do Americans think of Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg

During the Novel Coronavirus epidemic, these four tech industry leaders became the world's most influential people, putting them in the spotlight in an unprecedented way. The survey also sought to gauge how respondents felt about these increasingly inescapable people.

Among the tech billionaires, Musk is the most popular. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of the founder of Tesla, the world's second-richest person. Mr Musk also has bipartisan support in the US. Fifty-two percent of Democrats have a positive view (22 percent negative) and 48 percent of Republicans have a positive view (25 percent negative). Musk is particularly popular among men: a whopping 66% of male respondents have a positive view of him (21% have a negative).

Musk is particularly popular among American men, according to a poll of tech leaders

Through his charitable foundation, Gates played a quasi-governmental role during the epidemic. He is also wildly popular. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they had a positive view of Mr. Gates (35 percent had a negative view). Gates is particularly popular among Democrats, where the gap between positive and negative views is as high as 55 percent.

Messrs. Bezos and Zuckerberg are relatively unpopular. Nearly as many people have positive and negative views of Mr. Bezos. Zuckerberg fared even worse: 54% of respondents had a negative view of him, compared with 64% of Republicans.

Musk is particularly popular among American men, according to a poll of tech leaders

How do Americans view the political influence of billionaires

Nearly all Americans agree that billionaires have too much influence in the current political system. In the survey, 61 percent of respondents said they felt the super-rich had too much influence in the 2020 US election. Sixty-two percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats said so.

On whether President Joe Biden has gotten too close to the billionaires, Americans in both parties were on opposite sides of the aisle. Only 20 per cent of Democrats felt that way, but 72 per cent of Republicans felt that way.

But despite concerns about the influence of these billionaires, American voters do not see it as an existential risk. Asked whether the influence of billionaires is a threat to democracy in the United States, only 28 percent agreed and 54 percent disagreed.