With the Bush tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year, Democrats and Republicans are squaring off in Washington over how best to handle the issue— extend the middle-class tax cuts while allowing the cuts for the wealthy to expire, or extend the tax cuts for all Americans, regardless of income.
And as the divide in Washington has become more clear, two new national polls suggest the American public is also split. Both polls, however, show a plurality of Americans don’t want tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to be extended.
A USA Today/Gallup survey released today finds Americans in agreement over whether to extend the tax cuts “in some shape or form,” but divided over the extension’s reach. Respondents were asked:
What do you think Congress should do about the income tax cuts passed under George W. Bush that are set to expire at the end of the year—[allow the tax cuts to expire, keep the tax cuts but set new limits on how much wealthy Americans’ income is eligible for the lower rates, (or) keep the tax cuts for all Americans regardless of income]?
Forty percent suggest Congress should maintain the cuts for everyone, while 44% support setting limits on cuts for the wealthy. The majority of Republicans want the tax cuts extended for everyone, while Democrats are largely in favor of income eligibility limits. Thirteen percent of respondents favor allowing all tax cuts to expire. Regarding to the duration of the tax cuts’ extension, respondents are similarly divided: 45% think any extension should be temporary until the economy improves, while 37% believe it should be a permanent policy move.
A new AP-CNBC poll showed a majority of respondents (50%) agreeing that Washington should “allow the tax cuts for people earning more than $250,000 to expire, but continue them for other people,” while 34% believe the tax cuts should continue for everyone. Fourteen percent suggested that Washington should allow the tax cuts to expire for everyone. These results differ greatly from the pollster’s November 8 look at the question — in that survey, the majority (53%) favored extending tax cuts for everyone, while 32% supported income eligibility limits.
The margin of error is ±4.0 percentage points for the USA Today/Gallup poll and ±4.3 percentage points for the AP/CNBC poll.