Rasmussen: Voters oppose tax hikes in debt-ceiling deal 55/34

posted at 11:55 am on July 14, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Call it Dueling Pollsters.  Early today, Quinnipiac’s poll of 2,311 registered voters indicated that they want to see tax increases included in any deal to raise the debt ceiling.  Rasmussen polled 1,000 likely voters and found the exact opposite, with 55% opposed to any new taxes in a debt-ceiling increase deal:

As the Beltway politicians try to figure out how they will raise the debt ceiling and for how long, most voters oppose including tax hikes in the deal.

Just 34% think a tax hike should be included in any legislation to raise the debt ceiling. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 55% disagree and say it should not.

The difference might be in the way the questions were asked, being mindful of the Pollster-in-Chief’s warning on survey language.  Rasmussen’s question seems a little more straightforward, if generic:

As part of Legislation to Raise Debt Ceiling Should Congress and President Raise Taxes?

Quinnipiac is more specific:

Do you think any agreement to raise the national debt ceiling should include only spending cuts or should it also include an increase in taxes for the wealthy and corporations?

That is a perfectly legitimate question; the context of tax hikes from the White House has been to raise taxes on corporations and higher-income earners.  However, the term “wealthy” will provoke some emotional response (and it’s arguably inaccurate, since the taxes proposed would impact individuals making as low as $200,000 per year).  Quinnipiac would have been better off to have avoided the term — “higher income earners” would have been more accurate, objective, and less prone to the emotional responses that come with “wealthy.”

In the Rasmussen poll, raising taxes is only popular among Democrats, black voters, and self-professed liberals and the political class.  Except among liberals (66%), the majorities are relatively weak, at 58%, 51%, and 59% respectively.  Raising taxes fails in every income bracket, by a majority in every age bracket, and among both men (36/57) and women (33/53).  Independents oppose tax hikes 35/51, and even 32% of Democrats oppose tax hikes.

There is one other commonality between the two surveys; they both ask whether respondents are more worried about a government default or more government spending and debt.  In the Q-poll, it’s a close call, with the default edging out spending concerns 45/43.  In Rasmussen, a majority worry more about spending concerns, 37/51, which is again true for both genders, every age demographic (excepting a plurality of 43/48 among 50-64YOs), and independents (37/54).

So what is one to believe?  Both pollsters have good reputations and are known for their usually-accurate predictions.  Given the polling by various organizations over the last few months on the debt-ceiling issue, the Rasmussen poll fits better than the Q-poll, which looks more like an outlier.  It could also be that the Q-poll has picked up quicker on a trend shift, just as Rasmussen did on ObamaCare in 2009 and on the midterm results in 2010.  We’ll see what other independent (non-media) pollsters find in the next few days.

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And you can believe the 34% are not involved in the tax increases.

MaiDee on July 14, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Given that such small differences in how the question is phrased yielded such huge differences in results (if the phrasing was the only significant polling difference) it tells me that people are completely uninformed. When the answer to the same question with minor shading in the words used can make people change their answer it means that they’re just answering with their emotions.

MJBrutus on July 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM

GOP will cave anyway.

andy85719 on July 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM

For some reason I think in this deal they will phase out Mortgage Interest Deductions. No evidence, just a feeling.

I wish they would end HUD, or at least FHA and Section 8. Let PMI companies take the risk.

Oil Can on July 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Oil Can on July 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM

That would be the best thing we can hope to come out of this mess!

MJBrutus on July 14, 2011 at 12:02 PM

These are both silly questions by the pollsters. Obama is proposing to increase revenues, not taxes.

angryed on July 14, 2011 at 12:03 PM

And you can believe the 34% are not involved in the tax increases.

MaiDee on July 14, 2011 at 11:59 AM

No, but most of their employers probably are.

Doughboy on July 14, 2011 at 12:04 PM

I will always believe Rasmussen before flacks like the liberal organizations Quinnipiac, Pew and PPP, regardless of how questions are put.

slickwillie2001 on July 14, 2011 at 12:05 PM

For some reason I think in this deal they will phase out Mortgage Interest Deductions. No evidence, just a feeling.

I wish they would end HUD, or at least FHA and Section 8. Let PMI companies take the risk.

Oil Can on July 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM

They will never end HUD or FHA or Section 8. If anything they will expand it.

Mortgage interest, I agree, it will be phased out for the “rich”. Which isn’t all that different from other tax deductions that cap at certain income. Student loan deductions cap at $110K as does the child tax credit.

angryed on July 14, 2011 at 12:05 PM

So it’s ok for others to pay more, because those that don’t pay can dictate and demand more for themselves without ever having to at least try and make it for themselves? hmmmmmm

capejasmine on July 14, 2011 at 12:07 PM

It’s a great example of how sensitive “issue” polling is to the wording of questions.

The Q poll was definitely written by liberals.

On the other hand, Rasmussen’s extremely neutral wording might produce misleading results too. “Tax the rich” “Tax the wealthy” is all the public is going to hear from Obama and his media stooges, so the Rasmussen results don’t comfort me much.

forest on July 14, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Funny…

… I learned in a psychology class many years ago in college that depending on the questions and who you polled, you could get any result that you wanted.

That is why the media relies so heavily on them…

Seven Percent Solution on July 14, 2011 at 12:08 PM

Funny…

… I learned in a psychology class many years ago in college that depending on the questions and who you polled, you could get any result that you wanted.

That is why the media relies so heavily on them…

Seven Percent Solution on July 14, 2011 at 12:08 PM

So true, even the tone or accent of the person reading the question can tilt the results.

slickwillie2001 on July 14, 2011 at 12:10 PM

The Q-Survey question is worded specifically to elicit a desired response:

Do you think: flatter the person answering, we care about what you think

any agreement: accentuate the positive and predetermined outcome

to raise the national debt ceiling: rather than saying “increase spending”

should include only spending cuts: sounds restrictive and unreasonable

or should it also include: the more reasonable, inclusive option

an increase in taxes for the wealthy and corporations?: aka, everyone else but me

RedRedRice on July 14, 2011 at 12:11 PM

This just in:

100% of gravy train passengers support tax increases on the rich.

Laura in Maryland on July 14, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Blame Bush seems to be the theme of the day on the lsm

Gop needs to comprise, dear leader is doing everything.right

Bleh

cmsinaz on July 14, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Call it Dueling Pollsters.

No, call it poll sniffer quagmire! Take every poll as if it’s gospel, apply ZERO common sense and voila…”should I sh*t or go blind?”

ROFLMAO!!!

winston on July 14, 2011 at 12:13 PM

Awfully hard to know wtf is really going on.

Jaibones on July 14, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Anyone consider the vague possibility that the poll conducted by Rasmussen is more concise and scientifically accurate, while the poll conducted by Quinnipiac is a bunch of 100% pure horses**t?

pilamaye on July 14, 2011 at 12:15 PM

100% of gravy train passengers support tax increases on the rich.

Laura in Maryland on July 14, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Bing. Quick note for you pro-tax-increase-types: Send your checks to Internal Revenue Service, St. Louis, MO.

Jaibones on July 14, 2011 at 12:15 PM

OT: It appears that Dem gov of MN is going to cave to the GOP budget

ConservativePartyNow on July 14, 2011 at 12:15 PM

If you think the federal government needs more money, then cut them a check, please!

Show us all how good and noble that is and convince your fellow contrymen by putting your money where your mouth is.

ajacksonian on July 14, 2011 at 12:16 PM

It appears that The Won wants a Camp David summit and the Speaker says no.

Cindy Munford on July 14, 2011 at 12:17 PM

This just in:

100% of gravy train passengers support tax increases on the rich.

Laura in Maryland on July 14, 2011 at 12:11 PM

IOW, when you rob Peter to pay Paul you can count on Paul’s vote.

MJBrutus on July 14, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Speaking of budgets and deficits, Gov. Dayton surrendered to the Republican congress in Minnesota.

NotCoach on July 14, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Wording is obviously very important.

I think if you asked conservatives if they could go along with a tax hike to “pay off the debt” I believe that many would be open to that idea.

But that’s in some hypothetical universe where a tax hike would pay down the debt, not go to studies to research impotence in monkeys in eastern India.

In DC, we need to take the Scott Walker approach and just do what we need to do, and let the voters decide. It’s working okay for him.

12thMonkey on July 14, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Here’s an example of being careful reading polls.

This is a poll in Wisconsin finding 59% disapprove of Scott Walker’s performance.

http://www.nbc15.com/news/headlines/Poll_59_Disapprove_of_Walkers_Performance_125514818.html

However, all of the very recent, and very real VOTING that has taken place suggest exactly the opposite.

Which is right? The polling or the voting?

12thMonkey on July 14, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Call his bluff…!

d1carter on July 14, 2011 at 12:30 PM

I’m sorry, but that Quinnipiac question is rigged.

“Do you think any agreement to raise the national debt ceiling should include ONLY spending cuts or should it also include an increase in taxes for the EVIL RICH and BIG corporations?

I trust Rasmussen more than Quinnipiac, thank you.

WannabeAnglican on July 14, 2011 at 12:31 PM

“higher income earners” would have been more accurate, objective, and less prone to the emotional responses that come with “wealthy.”

Of course it would, but when you want a certain result….

Chip on July 14, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Do you think any agreement to raise the national debt ceiling should include only spending cuts or should it also include an increase in taxes for the wealthy and corporations?

BS. That question is designed to evoke an emotional response.

Most people do not think about where the wealthy and corporations get their money. The more money they need to pay the government the more money they charge us for goods and services.

Vince on July 14, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Gee, it’s amazing what kind of principled results you get when you don’t include class warfare rhetoric in your poll question.

HitNRun on July 14, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Maybe they could try this kind of “Scientific” Question:

Shouldn’t the wealth be Shared, and that it’s a Sacrifice for you not to go out and take what’s rightfully yours at gunpoint?

Chip on July 14, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Most people do not think about where the wealthy and corporations get their money.

Vince on July 14, 2011 at 12:35 PM

From goods and services created by our labor?

Your point is still valid though; it ain’t just CEO’s who get hit by higher taxes. If there’s one thing that really ‘trickles down’, that would be it.

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 14, 2011 at 12:39 PM

And I’d further add that most respondents to a poll don’t necessarily understand how taxing the wealthy, corporations, greengrocers, mimes, or any other class of citizen takes money hurts them by raising prices or lowering wages to pay the government – but they’ll still vote against a politician who hurts the economy, even if he did exactly what they wanted him to do.

Dems are hiding behind popular polls because they don’t understand what flimsy cover it is, or in the case of the smarter ones who think the US economy needs “balance,” don’t care.

HitNRun on July 14, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Mortgage interest, I agree, it will be phased out for the “rich”. Which isn’t all that different from other tax deductions that cap at certain income. Student loan deductions cap at $110K as does the child tax credit.

angryed on July 14, 2011 at 12:05 PM

That’s an easier way for the GOP to cave, but it’s a damn sneaky way to raise taxes.

I say give Obama his small-aircraft provision. Then, the GOP should hold a press conference and announce the destruction of the small-aircraft industry in this country.

I say give Obama a surtax on those making $500K or $1M or more a year. But that surtax should go to pay down the debt and not be used to reduce annual deficits. The increase should also be accompanied by an appointment of an inspector general who will submit annual reports on the amount revenue generated by the surtax and the effect on the behavior of high earners. Then the GOP should hold a press conference and declare that Obama’s surtax (even on Obama’s numbers) will do little to raise revenue and, indeed, will further dampen the economy. They should also summarize how hard these same taxpayers will get hit by the taxes hidden in Obamacare.

BuckeyeSam on July 14, 2011 at 12:43 PM

I say give Obama his small-aircraft provision. Then, the GOP should hold a press conference and announce the destruction of the small-aircraft industry in this country.

BuckeyeSam on July 14, 2011 at 12:43 PM

WTF?! He’s gonna wreck that industry too?

Oh well. With the way he destroyed the economy I probably could never have afforded a plane in the first place…

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 14, 2011 at 12:46 PM

However, the term “wealthy” will provoke some emotional response (and it’s arguably inaccurate, since the taxes proposed would impact individuals making as low as $200,000 per year).

at $200,000 a year, they’re practically starving.

also, too, ras to the rescue once again!

sesquipedalian on July 14, 2011 at 12:49 PM

when my husband took the mortgage deduction, he was a brand new atty making $12,000/year (that’s not alot of money by anyone’s standards).

ok, so he paid his mortgage, eventually made more money, had 3 employees.

employees? remember them? jobs! jobs! jobs!

kelley in virginia on July 14, 2011 at 1:00 PM

since only roughly 53% of Americans pay taxes, then any tax hike would affect most taxpayers, right?

so if you pay taxes at all, be wary of Pres. Bluffy’s promise to ONLY tax the rich. if you pay taxes today, he thinks you ARE rich.

kelley in virginia on July 14, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Mortgage interest, I agree, it will be phased out for the “rich”. Which isn’t all that different from other tax deductions that cap at certain income. Student loan deductions cap at $110K as does the child tax credit.

angryed on July 14, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Lest anyone think that people are deduting interest on multi-million dollar mortgages, the mortgage interest deduction is already limited for “the Rich” as only interest on $1 milion in debt can be deducted.

Ann on July 14, 2011 at 1:04 PM

GOP will cave anyway.

andy85719 on July 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM

I hope not..:)

Dire Straits on July 14, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Anyone familiar with the science of pooling would recognize the Quinnipiac question frames the issue in a way that sloicits a particular response. Bad science.

The Rasmussen question is quite straightforward. Good science.

novaculus on July 14, 2011 at 1:21 PM

ooops! “pooling” = “polling”

novaculus on July 14, 2011 at 1:22 PM

GOP will cave anyway.

andy85719 on July 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM
I hope not..:)

Dire Straits on July 14, 2011 at 1:10 PM

However..I do understand your skepticism..:)

Dire Straits on July 14, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Even though Rasmussen has upset me with their results MANY TIMES, I’ll believe them as they always seem to be right in the long run.

0bama cannot be happy with this poll, but even that won’t stop the ARROGANT 0ne from pushing his Communist agenda.

NO NEW TAXES! ;o)

DannoJyd on July 14, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Huh? How would “higher income earners” be accurate? That would leave each person answering to guess “higher than what.”

Al in St. Lou on July 14, 2011 at 2:14 PM