Tags: tax | wealthy | fiscal | cliff

Rasmussen Poll: Americans Favor Raising Taxes On The Rich

Friday, 16 Nov 2012 12:21 PM

By Stephen Feller

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There’s an enormous partisan difference of opinion when it comes to raising taxes on those who make more than $250,000 annually, but a majority of Americans favor the hikes proposed by Democrats.

An overwhelming number of voters, however, also realize that raising taxes will not on its own solve the budget crisis Congress is grappling with.

The latest Rasmussen Reports survey found that 57 percent of likely voters favor raising taxes on people who earn more than $250,000 a year and 35 percent are opposed.

At the same time, 67 percent think more will need to be done to close the budget deficit, compared to 19 percent that think tax increases alone will work and 12 percent who aren’t sure.

One of the major partisan sticking points in the current debate over the pending “fiscal cliff” are the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 under President Bush which are set to expire at the end of the year.

Republicans want to extend them permanently for all taxpayers. Democrats want to extend them temporarily and only for those who make less than $250,000 a year. Most voters favor continuing the so-called Bush tax cuts but not for “the wealthy.”

“This suggests that voters are viewing the issue as being more about fairness than deficits,” Scott Rasmussen said.

In February 2009, Rasmussen reported, only 51 percent felt that Barack Obama’s plan to raise taxes on those earning $250,000 a year would be good for the economy.

Nearly one-out-of-three Democrats, 31 percent, believe it is possible to balance the budget chiefly by raising taxes on those who make more than $250,000 per year. Eighty-five percent of Republicans and 74 percent of voters not affiliated with either of the major parties disagree.

Just 28 percent of Americans consider someone who makes $250,000 a year to be wealthy. Most consider them to be upper-income instead.

The partisan split on whether or not raising taxes on those who qualify as upper-income, or higher, is significant. Eighty-three percent of Democrats and 58 percent of unaffiliated voters favor such a tax increase. Sixty-five percent of Republicans oppose it.

Fifty-six percent of all likely voters believe America is overtaxed. But most Americans also think the wealthy don’t pay their fair share in taxes.

Just 51 percent of voters now believe the president and Congress are likely to reach an agreement by the end of the year that will keep the existing tax cuts in place and prevent the massive automatic government spending cuts scheduled for January 1. That includes only 15 percent who feel a deal is “very likely.”

Voters still tend to think defense spending and entitlement programs need to go on the chopping block to reduce the record federal deficit, but they’re not overly confident that Obama and Congress will reach a long-term agreement to make those cuts.

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