Americans Support Extending Tax Cuts, But Not For Wealthiest Americans
Two new polls show that public attitudes toward the deal between President Obama and Senate Republicans is mixed at best.
First, a new Gallup poll shows that Americans are largely in support of the deal and of extending the tax cuts for all Americans:
PRINCETON, NJ — Two major elements included in the tax agreement reached Monday between President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in Congress meet with broad public support. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) favor extending the 2001/2003 tax cuts for all Americans for two years, and an identical number support extending unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed.
According to Gallup polling conducted Dec. 3-6, the slight majority of Democrats, as well as most independents and Republicans, would vote for a two-year extension of the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003.
This differs slightly from a November Gallup poll giving Americans three options for extending the Bush tax cuts. That poll found 40% in favor of extending the tax cuts for all Americans, 44% in favor of extending them with limits on tax breaks for the wealthy, and 13% in favor of letting the tax breaks expire altogether. Nevertheless, the results of the new question suggest that, while the compromise position on taxes may not be their ideal, most Americans would support congressional passage of it.
However, when asked in a separate poll to specifically opine about tax cuts for high-income earners, they are far less supportive:
Americans don’t approve of keeping the breaks for upper-income taxpayers that are part of the deal President Barack Obama brokered with congressional Republicans, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.
The survey, conducted before, during and after the tax negotiations, shows that only a third support keeping the lower rates for the highest earners, and less than half of those respondents say the breaks for the wealthy should last for a shorter period than cuts for the middle class. Overall, two- thirds of those polled favor a permanent extension of the lower rates for the middle class.
More than a fourth say all the tax cuts should be allowed to expire Dec. 31, as scheduled.
I would be surprised at this point if the deal doesn’t get through Congress in mostly one piece, but numbers like this would suggest that the opposition the President is facing from within his own party isn’t just the whining of a fringe group.