Bloomberg Poll: Americans Don’t Want To Extend Tax Cuts For Wealthy

December 8, 2010 5:08 a.m.
EDITORS' NOTE: TPM is making our COVID-19 coverage free to all readers during this national health crisis. If you’d like to support TPM's reporters, editors and staff, the best way to do so is to become a member.

On Tuesday, President Obama defended his tax cuts compromise, suggesting the deal will result in effective policy, rather than merely “sanctimonious” pride in the purity of one’s belief. The American people, however, don’t appear to see eye to eye with the President on this, according to a newly released Bloomberg poll.

When respondents were asked if they generally favor or oppose eliminating tax cuts that the wealthiest Americans have received in recent years, 59% say they are in favor while 38% say they oppose.The national survey, conducted before and after the tax cuts deal was announced (December 4-7) also asks respondents:

The U.S. Congress is considering whether to renew most or all of the Bush tax cuts that expire at the end of December. In your view, what action would be best for the U.S. economy?

Only about a third of respondents (35%) favor extending the Bush-era tax cuts for “the highest income earners.” Nearly half of that 35% suggest that the tax breaks for the wealthy should last for a shorter period than the tax cuts for the middle class, while slightly more than half said the tax cuts should be extended permanently for all income levels.

The survey has 34% of respondents indicating that the tax cuts should be extended permanently for the middle class, but not for those earning $250,000 a year or more. Twenty-seven percent say all tax cuts should expire as scheduled.

The tax deal would extend all Bush tax cuts for two years, in exchange for a GOP compromise on the estate tax, a temporary payroll tax cut, and a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits. While Obama has argued that the compromise was needed to break a deadlock with congressional Republicans, dissent has filtered in from both the left and the right.

In contrast to the Bloomberg poll, a newly released Gallup poll suggests that opposition to the compromise comes largely from “the [political] extremes.” The survey, conducted from December 3-6, finds “two major elements” included in the tax compromise with “broad public support.” Sixty-six percent of respondents, when asked if they would vote “for” a two-year extension on tax cuts for all Americans, indicated they would. However, no other policy options related to tax extensions were offered to respondents. The question is taken from Gallup’s December 2010 Issues Referenda survey, which provides a number of unrelated proposals and respondents are instructed to indicate whether they would vote “for” or “against” the policy.

The survey shows only “liberal Democrats” in opposition to extending the tax breaks for everyone (39% favor, 55% oppose), while 87% of “conservative Republicans” support the tax cuts extension. Only thirty-eight percent of conservatives are in favor of extending unemployment benefits, however, which is another major element of the tax deal.

A recent SurveyUSA poll found Obama supporters overwhelmingly in opposition to the tax cut deal, while a CBS poll from last week showed only 26% of Americans in favor of extending all Bush-era tax cuts.

The margin of error for the latest surveys are ±3.1 percentage points for Bloomberg and ±4.0 percentage points for Gallup.

Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: