Dem Pollster To Dems: Seize Tax Cuts Debate — You Could Win!

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A Democratic pollster is telling members of Congress wary about voting on tax issues of any kind that they should embrace the debate because it could prove helpful in the fall midterms.

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner has issued the full findings of a poll taken Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 showing Democrats would be boosted by debating and voting on extending tax cuts for the middle class. We previewed the results this week as part of our ongoing coverage of this new pressure point on Capitol Hill. The firm finds that Democrats can narrow the gap between themselves and Republicans nationally if they aggressively campaign on extending tax cuts for the middle class only.

“This will be a tough election, but fortunately, the unfolding tax issue can work strongly to help Democrats and define the choice in the election,” wrote pollster Stan Greenberg, who also spoke with members of the Democratic caucus before Speaker Nancy Pelosi made her plea along the same lines.Greenberg said Democrats “are strongly aligned with public thinking and priorities” since just 38 percent favor keeping the Bush-era tax cuts for wealthy people and since the issue motivates the base voters Democrats need to show up in November.

“Democrats hold the high ground on these issues — and this one noticeably moves the congressional vote to the Democrats after a debate,” Greenberg argued. “Democrats should embrace a tax debate.”

He said there are few issues like this which boost Democratic candidates and where voters favor the Democratic position by 17 points. “The choice re-enforces Democrats’ core values and strongest framework for the election (for the middle class versus Wall Street),” he wrote.

By the numbers, 55% support letting some or all of the cuts expire in January 2011 as the Republicans wrote them to sunset. And 42% say keep the cuts for the middle class and scrap the rest.

Another Democratic pollster Geoff Garin, who worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, wrote a memo with similar findings and suggesting Obama’s position “offers a winning political proposition for Democrats.”

“The president strikes a strongly responsive chord with the public when he says that securing the middle-class tax cuts should not be held hostage to partisan wrangling about what to do with earners in the top income rate,” Garin wrote in the memo, which includes new stats about voter sentiment on each tax bracket. Politico posted the Garin here.

“President Obama’s argument that we should get that job done now is politically and substantively compelling, and it gives Democrats a chance to play offense rather than defense,” Garin wrote.

[Ed note: This post was edited after publication.]

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