Poll: Most Americans don't expect tax cuts to hit home

Americans, it seems, are a pessimistic lot.

Only 36 percent of those surveyed in a recent Monitor/TIPP poll said it was likely that they would see any personal results from the Bush administration's recently passed tax cut.

Slightly more - 38 percent - answered "not at all likely" to the question "How likely is it that the recently passed tax cut will significantly help you personally?" Another 21 percent answered with "not very likely."

That the tax cuts are geared toward gains in the stock market - a place only a minority of Americans are still heavily invested - may be one reason for the grim outlook.

The new law cuts the tax on profits from investments held at least a year from 20 percent to 15 percent. It also cuts the tax on most stock dividends to 15 percent. For investors in the 10 percent and 15 percent tax brackets, the tax on dividends will be just 5 percent.

But the poll found that a majority of Americans (56 percent) don't have even $10,000 invested in the stock market in individual stocks or mutual funds, whether held directly or through a retirement plan.

The poll, which surveyed 901 adult Americans nationwide, was conducted between June 2 and June 6 and included some other notable findings:

• Overall, the majority of those surveyed are satisfied with current federal economic policies. Fifty-five percent said they were very or somewhat satisfied, 24 percent said they were not very satisfied, and 21 percent said they were not satisfied at all. And although only a minority expect to see personal benefits from the tax cuts, 56 percent think the cuts will significantly help the economy.

• That said, 66 percent of those surveyed said the current administration's economic policies are responsible for the weak job market. A slight majority (51 percent) believe President Bush's economic policies will help improve the job situation.

• Only 10 percent expect their quality of life to decline during the next six months (57 percent expect it to stay the same). But 24 percent think the country's economic situation will worsen. Thirty-eight percent think it will improve, and another 38 percent expect it to stay the same.

• When it comes to the stock market, 83 percent expect its value to increase in the next year or so. Eleven percent expect its value to decline further. Yet people aren't quite ready back up that optimism with money: The majority of investors - 63 percent - are "sitting tight."

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