The Club for Growth isn’t gonna like this, but when you ask Americans how they’d balance the budget, they’re answer is clear: raise taxes on rich people.
On tackling the deficit, voters by a margin of 2-to-1 support raising taxes on incomes above $250,000, with 64 percent in favor and 33 percent opposed.
Independents supported higher taxes on the wealthy by 63-34 percent; Democrats by 83-15 percent; and Republicans opposed by 43-54 percent.
Support for higher taxes rose by 5 percentage points after Obama called for that as one element of his deficit-reduction strategy last week. Opposition dropped by 6 points. The poll was conducted before and after the speech.
The poll found Americans similarly definitive when it comes to “entitlement” programs like Medicare and Medicaid:
Americans clearly don’t want the government to cut Medicare, the government health program for the elderly, or Medicaid, the program for the poor. Republicans in the House of Representatives voted last week to drastically restructure and reduce those programs, while Obama calls for trimming their costs but leaving them essentially intact.
Voters oppose cuts to those programs by 80-18 percent. Even among conservatives, only 29 percent supported cuts, and 68 percent opposed them.
Cutting defense spending gets a more mixed review, with 44 percent saying “do” and 54 saying “don’t.”
And whether people want defense spending cut turns out to depends on the education level o the person being asked:
College graduates want to cut defense spending by 63-36 percent. Non-college graduates oppose cutting the Pentagon by 61-36 percent.
One unsurprising piece of news, which shows why smart public policy and public opinion don’t always coincide involves the debt ceiling:
No matter how the government tackles its deficits and debt, Americans don’t want it to borrow any more. By 69-24 percent, voters oppose raising the legal ceiling for debt. That includes Democrats, who oppose it by 53-36 percent, independents, who oppose it by 74-22 percent, and Republicans, who oppose it by 79-16 percent.
And President Obama’s approval rating is upside down in the poll (44/48), as is the right track/wrong track number (31/64) although Obama is in considerably better shape than Congressional Republicans, who draw an approval/disapproval rating of 30/63.
The poll was taken April 10-14 and queried 1,274 respondents.
Read more here.
This isn’t the first poll to show a strong majority of Americans favor raising taxes on the rich and strongly oppose touching entitlements. Polls have been showing that since before the 2010 election. Here’s one from September, 2010.
Here’s one from December.
And here’s one from last week, which also shows that Americans aren’t particularly keen on cutting domestic spending, despite what the TV people keep saying, often in contravention to their own polls.
With all the squawking over the S&P’s sudden awakening from its Bushian slumber to threaten the credit rating of the U.S. (as much over Republican threats over the debt ceiling as due to worries over the deficits themselves) it would seem that Washington has a sure and easy course toward correcting our debt picture while being responsive to the American people: raise the top marginal tax rates.
So let’s get to it, people.