A Large Majority of Americans Hope to Extend At Least Some Part of Bush Tax Cuts

A Gallup summary of its findings from a poll conducted November 19-21 of this year reveals that a large majority of Americans want the Bush tax cuts extended in some form, and that this preference extends across individuals' income and party identification. 40% of Americans side with Republicans in Congress who want the Bush tax cuts extended in their current form, with no limit on the wealthy, while 44% agree with President Obama and want the cuts extended but with new limits on wealthy Americans. Only 13% want all tax cuts to expire.

More specifically, beyond the 40% who want to maintain tax cuts for all Americans regardless of income, 5% said they want an income limit for those who earn $1 million or more and 12% want the limit set at $500,000 or more. All together, this means that 57% of Americans believe the tax cuts should apply to all Americans with incomes under $500,000. A whopping 83% believe cuts should apply to all individuals earning under $250,000 when the 26% in favor of setting the limit at that number are added to the others. 45% of Americans think the tax cuts should be extended as a temporary measure, 37% believe they should be extended permanently and as mentioned previously, 13% believe they should be permitted to expire now.

No income group in the survey had more than 15% of its members want the cuts to expire; the vast majority were roughly divided between whether they want income limits on the tax cuts or not. Within each income group between 50% and 57% hope the tax cuts are extended only temporarily.

And although there were noticeable differences among idividuals of different party identifications concerning whether or not there should be an income limit on the extended tax cuts, a majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents alike want the tax cuts extended in at least some form.

As Congress plans to vote on the tax cuts soon (the House just has), the polls give a clear answer as to where the American people stand. Gallup concludes: "As the two sides [of Congress, Republicans and Democrats] continue to work toward a compromise, they should bear in mind that the least popular outome would be doing nothing, thus letting the tax breaks expire altogether."

Nick Haas (nihaas@umich.edu)

SSDAN Office

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