NY Times poll: Tax law now has majority support

Taxmageddon isn’t going so well for Democrats. Today the NY Times published the results of a new poll showing the tax law just gained majority support. For the first time, more people approve of the law than disapprove of it:

Over all, 51 percent of Americans approve of the tax law, while 46 percent disapprove, according to a poll for The New York Times conducted between Feb. 5 and Feb. 11 by SurveyMonkey. Approval has risen from 46 percent in January and 37 percent in December, when the law was passed.

“Public opinion is moving in the direction of this bill,” said Jon Cohen, chief research officer for SurveyMonkey. “Considering where it was, it is dramatically different.”

Mr. Cohen cautioned that the bill still was not particularly popular, and opposition among Democrats remained strong. Still, support has grown even among Democrats, from 8 percent just before the bill passed in December to 19 percent this month. For Democrats, Mr. Cohen said, running on opposition to the bill has become more of a political gamble.

“It’s less of a sure bet than it seemed in December,” he said. “This isn’t a problem yet for Democrats, but the movement isn’t a positive one.”

But the poll also suggested there is good reason to think the GOP hasn’t seen the full upside to this yet.

Only one in three respondents expects to receive a tax cut from the law. The independent Tax Policy Center in Washington estimates that four in five Americans will actually see a tax cut from the law this year, though that number is projected to shrink sharply in 2027 if individual tax cuts expire as scheduled in the law.

As I noted back in December, the tax bill has already started showing up in some people’s paychecks thanks to changes in withholding for next year. That was already a surprise to a number of people who had heard (from Democrats) that the tax law was going to be bad news for everyone. But the real comparison point won’t come until next April when Americans file their taxes and around 80% find their bill has gone down compared to this year.

That’s going to be a surprise to the 45% of Americans who, according to this NY Times poll, aren’t expecting a tax cut but will wind up getting one. Democrats are probably relieved that this revelation will come after the 2018 elections for most Americans. But even as it stands, the trend is very positive for the GOP. If the law picks up another 10 or 15 points by November, Republicans around the country will be campaigning on this. Expect them to run ads featuring Nancy Pelosi who compared the law to “Armageddon.” She also compared it to Frankenstein’s monster, which she noted hopefully, came back to destroy his creator. It’s starting to look like this monster isn’t coming back for Republicans though, it’s coming for Democrats.

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