Poll: Majority Opposes Extended Bush Tax Cuts For the Wealthy

With Republicans and Democrats headed for another showdown over extension of the so-called “Bush Tax Cuts,” a new poll from the National Journal shows that the public supports the position that Democrats have taken on the issue:

As President Obama navigates a choppy economy in his reelection bid, he can rely on one comforting fact: Americans continue to strongly embrace his opposition to extending tax breaks for those earning more than $250,000 a year.

A new United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll shows that only 26 percent of the public wants to see all of the tax breaks created during the George W. Bush administration, which are set to expire at year’s end, extended for at least another year. And only 18 percent want the tax breaks across all income levels made permanent, the position taken by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

That the broader public prefers taxing the rich to taxing themselves is not surprising. But the poll results offer evidence of the political benefits that the president can derive from his opposition to the Bush-era tax breaks for high-income earners. Obama has made this a centerpiece of his campaign. It also shows the difficulties that the GOP faces trying to convince voters that the $250,000 threshold hits small businesses and would hurt the economy, and why that narrative has gained little traction with the public at large.

In the poll, 47 percent of respondents said they wanted to see the tax breaks extended only for those earning less than $250,000. Eighteen percent said they prefer that all the tax breaks simply expire, which would result in higher taxes across the income spectrum.

Of course, as we learned in December 2010, public opinion doesn’t necessarily provide a guide for how this dispute will work itself out in Congress. Back then there were several polls showing that the public supported the President’s position to hold the line on extending the tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 a year (see here, here, and here) and yet, in the end, it was the President and not Congressional Republicans who ended up caving in. What happens this time around will depend to a large degree on what happens on Election Day but, in the end, I think what we’re most likely to see is Congress kick this can down the road for at least a year by extending the tax cuts for everyone, in the hope that some kind of more comprehensive deal can be worked out when the new Congress convenes in January. Regardless of how the elections turn out, it’s simply silly to expect this issue along with the others that have an end-of-the year deadline (the debt ceiling, the extension of the Payroll Tax Cut and unemployment benefits, and the extension of the Medicare “Doc Fix”) to be resolved by a lame duck Congress.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Congress, Deficit and Debt, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, Quick Takes, Taxes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. I think I linked this before: Fiscal Cliff, Three Ways

    It shows that the “full can kick,” extending all the tax increases and spending cuts, is very harmful to GDP in the near-term (going out to 2020).

    Now, I can step back and see how this game is played. We are supposed to blame Obama for not “introducing” things, or “backing” things, and then just shrug when congress kicks the can.

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Funny article. The only way in which its author could have been more of a Democrat cheerleader is if he or she while writing it dressed up like that chick from that “Oh, Mickey” video from the 80’s. Also, just to complete the farcical chain, what National Journal should do tomorrow is to come out with an article explaining that a significant majority support other people paying their bills and doing their work for them.

  3. I have a couple links, that I think complete the picture. First, growing discomfort with out economics:

    delong smackdown watch: john emerson edition

    and then:

    asia’s millionaires outnumber north america’s

    We’re number one! Except when we’re not, and then we start rationalizing our BS congress.

  4. al-Ameda says:

    With Republicans and Democrats headed for another showdown over extension of the so-called “Bush Tax Cuts,” a new poll from the National Journal shows that the public supports the position that Democrats have taken on the issue

    Presumably, this is the same public that in 2010 gave the Republican Party control of the House of Representatives. Public approval of the House is at about 10 percent, that’s about 10% more than the approval I have for the public that gave the GOP control of the House.

    The public likes it until they don’t like it, which these days seems to be 15 minutes or so.

  5. @al-Ameda:

    As I said in a recent thread, I put it down to a human cognitive error. We don’t think about the low approval of Congress, we concentrate on the one-to-one contest for President.

    We attribute and blame based on a “tribal chief” psychology.

    If we were smarter, we might start with Congress, and where the laws are made.

  6. sam says:

    @john personna:

    I have a couple links, that I think complete the picture. First, growing discomfort with out economics:

    delong smackdown watch: john emerson edition

    What? Modern economics is bullshit? Jeepers.

  7. walt moffett says:

    Tax thee not me seems to SOP since colonial days. However, fully confident, after extracting the most political capital possible, a coalition of low income red state and high earner north eastern (maybe west coast too) Congress critters manage to shove the issue to the 2014 elections. After all, one does not take food out of the mouth of those who can avoid $50 a plate chicken dinners.

    Yet, on the bright side, if the projected GDP does drop (or fails to grow at some magic number) there is the possibility of lowered carbon emissions from lowered production and consumption.

  8. LaMont says:

    @al-Ameda:

    This is what bothers me the most about many voters. Completely uninformed, they vote recklessly on a narrative boosted by the media while the politicians are pulling all the strings. The intelligence of you and I are often insulted for the sake of unintelligent voters. Politicicans do this well and it absolutely stinks. The election of 2010 is largely the results of unitelligent voters by way of misinformation (media) and the lack of voter participation.