The upcoming fight over the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts at the end of the year could motivate voters to cast their ballots against Democrats in a handful of tossup Senate races, a new poll finds.
The Resurgent Republic poll shows that voters in these tossup states overwhelmingly oppose letting the tax cuts expire on Dec. 31, the Hill reports.
Resurgent, which former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie founded, surveyed 1,000 likely voters in 12 states that the Cook Political Report lists in the tossup category, including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington.
According to the survey, 55 percent indicated they would be less likely to back Democratic candidates in the House or Senate, should the Democrats fail to block the tax hikes before the November elections.
Democrats plan to turn the issue into a campaign theme by blaming Republicans should legislation extending the Bush tax cuts into next year fail, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“The Senate will move first, and it will be a test to see whether Republicans filibuster,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told the Journal. “If you can’t get it out of the Senate, then you take it to the election.
“You say to the American people that Republicans want to continue to hold middle-class tax relief hostage for an extension of tax breaks for [the well-to-do]. That will be the debate.”
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner signaled during the weekend that the Obama administration favors allowing tax breaks for those making more than $250,000 to expire as planned, while extending tax breaks for those making less than $250,000.
Republicans likewise have their knives sharpened over the issue, saying the Democrats are ignoring a “ticking time bomb,” the Journal stated.
Democrats still could face Republican charges they are harming small-business owners, many of whom file their business taxes on personal income tax forms, even if a bill extending the Bush tax cuts passes the Senate.
“We are eager to oblige our friends on the other side of the aisle who want to have this debate,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told the Journal. “This is about a job-killing tax hike on small businesses during tough economic times.”
But Democrats say Republican efforts to preserve the Bush tax cuts could open them up to charges that they are clinging to former President George W. Bush’s policies.
Gillespie’s poll also found voters are concerned Democrats may wait until the post-election lame-duck session to address controversial issues such as tax increases, immigration reform, or card check.
According to the survey, three-quarters of Republican voters and two-thirds of Democratic and independent voters say they oppose postponing key votes on these issues until after the elections.
Voters in these states overwhelmingly say they would be less likely to vote for their members of Congress if they refused to rule out voting on controversial issues in a lame-duck session, by a 63-19 percent margin.
Ayres, McHenry & Associates conducted the survey for Resurgent between July 17 and 20, according to The Hill. It has an overall 3.1 percent margin of error; a 5.66 percent margin of error for its Republican samples; a 5.17 percent margin of error for its independent samples; and a 5.39 margin of error for its Democratic samples.
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