The Hill poll shows voters want lower tax rates

posted at 12:45 pm on February 27, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

With the blizzard of tax reform plans coming from Barack Obama and the Republican presidential candidates, The Hill decided to poll likely voters on what they think the proper level of taxation should be for higher-income earners and corporations.  Most voters want lower rates than currently assessed, although it’s unclear whether they know it or not:

Three-quarters of likely voters believe the nation’s top earners should pay lower, not higher, tax rates, according to a new poll for The Hill.

The big majority opted for a lower tax bill when asked to choose specific rates; precisely 75 percent said the right level for top earners was 30 percent or below.

The current rate for top earners is 35 percent. Only 4 percent thought it was appropriate to take 40 percent, which is approximately the level that President Obama is seeking from January 2013 onward.

The Hill Poll also found that 73 percent of likely voters believe corporations should pay a lower rate than the current 35 percent, as both the White House and Republicans push plans to lower rates.

As Peter Schroeder writes in the analysis, that runs counter to results from other pollsters.  The difference, though, seems to be the way in which the questions get asked.  In other polls, the surveys ask whether rates should be increased, decreased, or kept the same; in this poll, respondents have a choice of specific rates without informing them which is current.

The results speak for themselves.  On the personal rate for families earning more than $250K, likely voters chose the following rates:

  • Rate under 20%: 21%
  • 20%: 17%
  • 25% 23%
  • 30%: 14%
  • 35% 13%
  • 40%: 4%
  • Over 45%: 2%

Given that the original proposal from Obama and Democrats was to push that rate to nearly 40%, it could be said that only 6% of the voters agreed with that level of taxation.  It’s probably more accurate to say that voters think they want the rates increased until they find out what the rates actually are.  That’s a measurement of the effectiveness of class-warfare rhetoric — and its limitations.

The Hill also polled on the impact of the debate over the HHS mandate, and it’s pretty clear that it has made no real difference, despite the hopes and fears of either party.  Twenty-eight percent of likely voters say it hasn’t impacted their outlook on the presidential race at all; 35% say it’s made them more likely to vote for Obama, while 36% say it makes them more likely to vote for the GOP challenger.  Women split almost the same at 36/34 for Obama, but seniors split much more toward the GOP, 47/30.  Independents are slightly more inclined to vote Republican, 39/30, as does all income demos except the lowest- and highest-earning voters.  This looks more like a reinforcement issue than a game changer, at least thus far.


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People will love the tax increases inside Obamacare!

tom daschle concerned on February 27, 2012 at 12:48 PM

No Sh*t Sherlock!
(sarc)

canopfor on February 27, 2012 at 12:49 PM

The problem with the HHS mandate is, if you just listen to the media you would assume it has already been resolved and it is all political posturing now.

Mord on February 27, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Coming from a lefty site like the Hill, gotta be devastating. As Nelson from The Simpsons would say, HA HA.(With appropriate accent)

msupertas on February 27, 2012 at 12:50 PM

The Hill also polled on the impact of the debate over the HHS mandate, and it’s pretty clear that it has made no real difference, despite the hopes and fears of either party.

I’m hardly surprised. Only cattle couldn’t comprehend that the mandate is the beginning of the unrestrained power of the State.

There is nothing … NOTHING … that isn’t touched by interstate commerce. Accordingly, there is nothing … NOTHING … to stop the State from telling us what to do, when to do it and how to do it.

This is dictatorship – and the cattle just go “moo.”

OhEssYouCowboys on February 27, 2012 at 12:51 PM

I have about decided that the budget deficit/national debt problem is unsolvable. The American people as a whole want lower taxes but they don’t want lower benefits. They want the deficit cut but they don’t want any benefits cut. Neither party can solve the problem. We can’t solve the problem by increased taxes anyway (or even outright confiscation). I will continue to participate in the political process, but this problem can’t be solved. We’ll just keep borrowing and borrowing and the bonds will just keep moving around until the whole thing collapses under its own weight.

NoFanofLibs on February 27, 2012 at 12:52 PM

The difference, though, seems to be the way in which the questions get asked.

Wow! Ya mean you can determine the outcome of your “poll” just by the way you ask a question?

Who knew?

Exit question: If Hitler and Obama were the only candidates running in the next election, who would you vote for?

GarandFan on February 27, 2012 at 12:52 PM

As Peter Schroeder writes in the analysis, that runs counter to results from other pollsters. The difference, though, seems to be the way in which the questions get asked. In other polls, the surveys ask whether rates should be increased, decreased, or kept the same; in this poll, respondents have a choice of specific rates without informing them which is current.

We should just call this the “Immutable Law of Polling”.

Bitter Clinger on February 27, 2012 at 12:52 PM

This looks more like a reinforcement issue than a game changer, at least thus far.

I think that is apt to change when the details leak out (depending on whether or not the American Catholic church caves as it has traditionally done when its ethics bump up against Democrats).

Beyond that I’m surprised that we are simply talking about tax rates. The left has usually trotted out the idea that no CEO should be allowed to make over $100K by this point in the discussion.

Happy Nomad on February 27, 2012 at 12:52 PM

You can try this yourself. Just ask any liberal what tax rate that he or she thinks the “rich” should pay. My experience is that almost every answer will be something less than the current top marginal rate.

It’s always amusing.

SlaveDog on February 27, 2012 at 12:53 PM

It is never about the tax rate, it is about the spending.

The should poll people on what percentage of the GDP should the government budget be.

LoganSix on February 27, 2012 at 12:55 PM

TAXES?

You best be worrying about CREDIT CARD DEBT LEVELS here in Obamaville.

More American households are falling back into the debt hole, this time without the safety net of home values to help bail them out, the New York Post reported Sunday.
Last year, total US consumer debt reached its highest point in a decade, according to a credit card industry observer.

“Now more than ever, families need to work at saving and paying off any outstanding debts,” said Howard Dvorkin, a certified public accountant and founder of the credit counseling service Consolidated Credit.

After a few months of reducing credit card debt levels, Dvorkin said, Americans are starting to return to their reliance on debt.

“People made some progress in reducing card debt earlier in the year, but in the last few months, as the stock market started to rise, they started to return to their old ways of charging things,” he explained.

In December 2011, the total consumer debt — which is the combination of non-revolving and revolving debt — rose by some 9.3 percent to $2.498 trillion, according to the latest Federal Reserve Board numbers.

Both revolving debt and non-revolving debt increased. Revolving debt, which is credit-card debt, went up by 4.1 percent. Non-revolving debt, which includes loans for cars and education, rose 11.8 percent, the central bank’s report said.

The trend — month to month, quarter to quarter and year to year — is rising steeply.
“Consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter. Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 4.5 percent, and non-revolving credit increased 9 percent in December,” the Fed wrote in a note along with the latest monthly report, which also reviewed 2011.

These numbers, Dvorkin warns, mean that many middle-class Americans are taking big risks.

In a weak economy with high unemployment, Dvorkin noted, many people with big card balances become vulnerable to financial catastrophe.

http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpps/news/credit-card-debt-nears-toxic-levels-dpgonc-km-20120226_18232559#ixzz1nbdJQasp

PappyD61 on February 27, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Most people didn’t want ObamaCare either!
You think they care about the people?

KOOLAID2 on February 27, 2012 at 12:56 PM

O/T,Speaking of the Hill!

Transcanada Corp. says it plans to begin building a major portion of Keystone pipeline – @thehillStory

Submitted 10 mins ago from thehill.com
http://www.breakingnews.com/
=============================

canopfor on February 27, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Can they ask this question?

The top 5% income earners earn about 35% of the income in America. What percent share of the income tax burden do you think they pay to the nearest 10%?

I would not be surprised if 50% of the respondents guessed 35% or less.

WashJeff on February 27, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Haha. Great use of a poll.

Chuck Schick on February 27, 2012 at 1:03 PM

People always want lower taxes. And more government spending.

EddieC on February 27, 2012 at 1:08 PM

The Hill also polled on the impact of the debate over the HHS mandate, and it’s pretty clear that it has made no real difference, despite the hopes and fears of either party.

View the HHS mandate as a bellweather of social issues in toto: no appreciable effect. Besides, the Catholic Church won’t follow through on threats to close down hospitals for ‘another two Lents’, which means two years if you measure time as a Protestant, so the full impact of the HHS mandate controversy won’t be felt until well after the election. And has it occurred to any of you so fired up about this issue that the socialist weasels who crafted ObamaCare want churches out of the healthcare business? Those buildings and equipment within them aren’t going to magically disappear, and neither is most of the staff. Those facilities and those people be under new management and the new management practices another faith entirely.

This election is–or should be–about President Obama’s dismal record and failed policies, the stealth socialist takeover of the federal government, the encroachment of tyranny and the resultant, incremental loss of freedom in our daily lives. If you social conservative types keep muddying the waters with the finer points of Catholic traditions and teaching on contraception, we all lose. Contraception, per se, is not a big deal to most Americans. Find a better battle ground, ideally not one of your opponent’s choosing.

troyriser_gopftw on February 27, 2012 at 1:17 PM

O/T…..TOOOOOO Much!!

@TheOval tweeted:
*****************

Obama welcomes oil pipeline announcement http://t.co/z42hR7QO

Submitted 4 mins ago from twitter.com/TheOval
http://www.breakingnews.com/
============================

canopfor on February 27, 2012 at 1:18 PM

The Hill also polled on the impact of the debate over the HHS mandate, and it’s pretty clear that it has made no real difference

No wonder we’re losing our liberty, one bit at a time.

petefrt on February 27, 2012 at 1:19 PM

People don’t know what’s good for them- libs

changer1701 on February 27, 2012 at 1:20 PM

This election is–or should be–about President Obama’s dismal record and failed policies, the stealth socialist takeover of the federal government, the encroachment of tyranny and the resultant, incremental loss of freedom in our daily lives. If you social conservative types keep muddying the waters with the finer points of Catholic traditions and teaching on contraception, we all lose. Contraception, per se, is not a big deal to most Americans. Find a better battle ground, ideally not one of your opponent’s choosing.

troyriser_gopftw on February 27, 2012 at 1:17 PM

No, this election needs to be about where we are going to go as a country from here. The policies of Obama’s term did not originate in a vacuum. All the problems during his term existed before; they’ve only gotten worse through both Democrat and Republican presidencies.

This is our last chance to get it right, or we will be bankrupt by 2016.

Doomberg on February 27, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Those buildings and equipment within them aren’t going to magically disappear, and neither is most of the staff. Those facilities and those people be under new management and the new management practices another faith entirely.

Because getting into healthcare and buying hospitals these days, especially in low-income areas, is such a proven winner.

They will be closed and vacant. Hospitals are losers under now and they will be even bigger losers under Obamacare.

NoDonkey on February 27, 2012 at 1:23 PM

From michellemalkin.com:

USA Today poll -

The health care overhaul that President Obama intended to be the signature achievement of his first term instead has become a significant problem in his bid for a second one, uniting Republicans in opposition and eroding his standing among independents.

In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of the nation’s dozen top battleground states, a clear majority of registered voters call the bill’s passage “a bad thing” and support its repeal if a Republican wins the White House in November. Two years after he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act— and as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments about its constitutionality next month — the president has failed to convince most Americans that it was the right thing to do.

OhEssYouCowboys on February 27, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Given that the original proposal from Obama and Democrats was to push that rate to nearly 40%, it could be said that only 6% of the voters agreed with that level of taxation. It’s probably more accurate to say that voters think they want the rates increased until they find out what the rates actually are

In the last decade, voters opted for lower taxes while supporting massive spending increases. Voters had no problem with the country fighting in 2 major wars and not a single tax increase or offsetting spending cut to pay for it. Voters don’t seem to know what’s realistic anymore.

bayam on February 27, 2012 at 1:26 PM

PappyD61 on February 27, 2012 at 12:56 PM

There you go. Bringing up inconvenient facts.

The CARD Act of 2009 and the Dodd-Frank bill both protect the consumer from their own reckless spending habits, silly.

egmont on February 27, 2012 at 1:26 PM

In the last decade, voters opted for lower taxes while supporting massive spending increases. Voters had no problem with the country fighting in 2 major wars and not a single tax increase or offsetting spending cut to pay for it. Voters don’t seem to know what’s realistic anymore.

bayam on February 27, 2012 at 1:26 PM

You’re right.

I guess it’s time to get real, dismiss Congress, and appoint a Preisdent-for-Life so the idiot voters will be shut out of the governing process once and for all. Frankly, the whole Constitution thing was a mistake and should have been replaced with governance by Our Enlightened Betters decades ago. /

Doomberg on February 27, 2012 at 1:31 PM

bayam on February 27, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Psst. Tax revenues increase when tax rates go down.

tom daschle concerned on February 27, 2012 at 1:42 PM

These apparent contradictions in public attitudes aren’t really new phenomena, but they do underscore the simple truth that public ignorance is Obama’s best friend.

Adjoran on February 27, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Because getting into healthcare and buying hospitals these days, especially in low-income areas, is such a proven winner.

They will be closed and vacant. Hospitals are losers under now and they will be even bigger losers under Obamacare.

NoDonkey on February 27, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Who said anything anyone about buying hospitals? We’re talking about government, here. The usual business model, where loss matters, does not apply.

troyriser_gopftw on February 27, 2012 at 1:53 PM

With regard to corporate and individual tax rates, the rates can’t be discussed in a vacuum. They must be discussed in the context of deductions.

With corporations–and here I mean C corporations that are subject to income tax themselves–their total income is reduced by tax deductions that represent actual and legitimate expenditures for legitimate business purposes to arrive at a taxable income figure to which the corporate rates are applied. The media decry “deductions, loopholes, and subsidies”; but unless the expenditure doesn’t represent a legitimate business expense, Congress should back off. That said, if there is a deduction–or more usually an income tax credit–that favors a specific industry, it’s corporate welfare that should be terminated.

With individuals, their total income is reduced by itemized deductions that represent life choices (home size, charitable contributions, and where to live)–none of which really represent a business expense (though I’m ignoring Form 2106, which ought to flow through to page one, and fees for investment advice and tax prep)–to arrive at a taxable income figure to which individual rates are applied. In this case, are these survey takers talking about the rate schedule applied after the itemized deductions or are they talking about effective tax rates–they can be dramatically different rates.

In the end, a cursory survey of tax rates is unhelpful.

BuckeyeSam on February 27, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Exit question: If Hitler and Obama were the only candidates running in the next election, who would you vote for?

GarandFan on February 27, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Tough question, actually. Hitler became a decorated war hero, balanced the budget, and then started slaughtering people. My look at the F&F says that Obama is going the other way around.

Archivarix on February 27, 2012 at 2:21 PM

Only cattle couldn’t comprehend that the mandate is the beginning of the unrestrained power of the State.
This is dictatorship – and the cattle just go “moo.”

OhEssYouCowboys on February 27, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the cattle want. They think it’s a good thing. They don’t believe in their own ability to succeed and prosper in life and feel that they need this to survive.

NapaConservative on February 27, 2012 at 2:22 PM

There is nothing … NOTHING … that isn’t touched by interstate commerce.

Well, except for abortion, obviously. Killing 40 million of the country’s future citizens has no effect on interstate commerce whatsoever and can’t be regulated by Congress in any way.

Fabozz on February 27, 2012 at 2:29 PM

This was not widely reported: Chris Matthews Concedes: “Liberals Don’t Want To Pay More Taxes” – “It’s All a Game”

slickwillie2001 on February 27, 2012 at 2:41 PM

This tells me that far too many likely voters don’t know what the facts and issues really are that they are voting on.

dentarthurdent on February 27, 2012 at 2:52 PM

I guess most people’s definition of “fair share” is a bit different than the president’s…

ojfltx on February 27, 2012 at 3:03 PM