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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira: Some Tax Deal Provisions More Popular Than Others

In his latest ‘Public Opinion Snapshot,’ TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira takes a look at public attitudes toward the tax deal passed last month, and finds congressional conservatives hoping for further tax breaks for the rich on shaky ground. As Teixeira explains:

…A mid-December CNN poll showed that 75 percent supported the recently passed bill, which included an extension of Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, a partial payroll tax holiday, an extension of unemployment benefits, and a reduced estate tax. Just 23 percent were opposed.

The deal has good overall buzz, but in some provisions “most dear to conservatives hearts” resonated poorly with poll respondents, as Teixeira reports:

…Only 37 percent of the public favored the extension of tax cuts for the rich compared to 62 percent who where opposed. Similarly, 39 percent favored the reduction in the estate tax for wealthy Americans while 59 percent were opposed.
These findings stand in stark relief to public views about extending the tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 a year (89 percent in favor/11 percent opposed), extending unemployment benefits (76 percent in favor/22 percent opposed) and a one-year reduction in the Social Security tax (62 percent in favor/36 percent opposed).

Worse, for conservatives,

…The public sharply differentiates between those elements of the tax cut bill that are broadly helpful to poor and middle-class Americans and those that are basically for the rich. And overall they believe the bill does too much for wealthy Americans. Fifty-six percent say that is the case compared to 35 percent who say the bill does about the right amount and 9 percent who believe the bill does too little.

As Teixeira concludes, “The tender concern of conservatives in Congress for America’s wealthy citizens and the public’s strong disagreement with that priority are two things that haven’t changed in the new year.”

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