It’s funny how something so critical to everyone in the Democratic party, 98% of the media and even a majority of Republicans (both NeverTrump and otherwise) falls out of fashion once the voting is done. The demands for Trump to provide his tax returns was loud and continuous throughout 2016, but according to the latest Morning Consult polling, interest in the subject has begun to seriously fade.
President-elect Donald Trump’s latest reiteration that the only people who care about his tax returns are journalists isn’t supported by survey data, but a new Morning Consult/POLITICO poll shows Republicans and independents are less interested in the matter.
“You know, the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters, okay?” Trump said on Jan. 11 during his first news conference since July 27. “They’re the only ones.”
A survey taken shortly after the press conference shows registered voters are split on the matter: 45 percent of respondents said they care that Trump has not released his tax returns, while 44 percent do not. The figures represent a significant shift from May, when voters were asked a similar question.
We’re not even at a plurality yet, but the margins have definitely shifted. Eight months ago, solid majorities of Democrats, independents and Republicans all felt it was important for The Donald to turn over all the documents, audits or not. At this point, those numbers are seriously lagging.
This was a pretty large sample pulled by Morning Consult and the DIR party ID split was 36/30/34. (Hmmm… does that strike anyone as different from the splits we were seeing before the election from major pollsters? Never mind. I’m sure it’s just my imagination.) In other words, that’s probably a fairly close to accurate representation of the electorate.
The real question is what to make of this and if it even has any meaning going forward. Submitting the tax returns was never a legal requirement as a presidential candidate. Trump will need to show his tax returns for his one dollar salary for the next four years, but as for the old ones in the vault? If he didn’t cough them up all this time while asking for the job, what on Earth would make you think he’s going to do it now that he’s in office? Even if the situation remains static for four years I’d be quite surprised if he started delivering the older ones in 2020. Trump seems to be a guy who sticks with that works, and if he managed to win without releasing the data last time, well… don’t hold your breath.
At this point, other than a conflict of interest question, how much ground will be gained through getting the returns by anyone but the media? Either way, put a bookmark on this one because I’m sure it will be coming ’round again. Just don’t expect a massive blitz of tax returns to show up any time soon. I have a feeling the President Elect will be latching onto this poll the next time the question is asked and simply saying that nobody cares.