The bottom line of a new Battleground Poll is this: it shows strong support for raising taxes on the rich and will be one more component strengthening the political hand of President Barack Obama on this issue — an issue on which some key Republicans are quite systematically moving towards making it clear that they feel this will happen and that the Republican Party>needs to move on
And it further bolsters Obama’s and the Democrats’ other argument that whatever happens to on the budget cannot wind up brutally impacting poorer and middle class Americans. The bottom line here: it’s an argument that some key entitlements are prerequisites for how American functions and protects its struggling citizens. Republicans can, of course, ignore this and other polls, but this and other polls suggest that there could be future political consequences.
An American appetite for tax hikes gives President Barack Obama leverage in fiscal cliff negotiations.
A new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll finds that 60 percent of respondents support raising taxes on households that earn more than $250,000 a year and 64 percent want to raise taxes on large corporations.
Even 39 percent of Republicans support raising taxes on households making more than $250,000. Independents favor such a move by 21 percentage points, 59 to 38 percent.
Only 38 percent buy the GOP argument that raising taxes on households earning over $250,000 per year will have a negative impact on the economy. Fifty-eight percent do not.
The Dems can read the polls. To be sure:
“Democrats really have a winning issue here, and we should drive it hard,” said Celinda Lake, the Democratic pollster who helped conduct the bipartisan poll. “We’re in an era now where there’s a lot of cynicism about trickle-down economics.”
Congress and the White House are currently battling over whether to allow the George W. Bush tax cuts — on middle-income and wealthy Americans — to expire at the end of this year, at the same time that massive spending cuts might occur. The so-called “fiscal cliff” could spark a recession just when the economy is beginning to recover.
Republicans could do as they have done over the past two years: ignore such polls and go full speed ahead to please Tea Party members and still powerful talk show radio host. But the party would then continue to take a serious hit among those who aren’t members of their ideological choir — and the November elections indicated there are more of those than in the existing choir.
This is not surprising, in that it’s consistent with both other polling and human nature. Indeed, it’s rather surprising that only 60% favor raising taxes on those earning over $250,000 when that threshold impacts only 2% of taxpayers.
That two thirds favor taxing large corporations more is to be expected, given the backlash created by the financial crisis and various reports of mega-profitable companies paying zero taxes. While our nominal corporate tax rate is much higher than the norm in the developed world, there are enough loopholes in the system that the effective rate is often quite low. That “large corporations” only nominally pay taxes, passing them on as an expense to consumers, doesn’t mitigate the fact that most Americans perceive them as getting over.
The biggest disconnect in the polling is that, while there’s very little support for cuts in Social Security and Defense—two of our biggest ticket items—there’s overwhelming support for generic spending cuts….
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.