End tax cuts for wealthy, but put Republicans in Congress, Americans say
A new poll shows a majority of Americans favor President Obama's plan to raise taxes on the rich. But by a 46 percent to 41 percent margin, people want Republicans steering the economy.
More thant half the country supports tax increases for the richest Americans, according to a new poll, backing President Barack Obama's plan to boost levies on individuals making more than $200,000 a year.Skip to next paragraph
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But less than 50 days from elections that Republicans hope will hand them control of Congress, The Associated Press-GfK Poll is stuffed with encouraging signs for the GOP. Huge majorities call the economy sickly and say Congress is doing its job badly.
By a 46 percent to 41 percent margin, people want Republicans steering the economy – the first GOP edge on that runaway No. 1 concern of voters in the AP-GfK poll.
And while Americans are evenly split over whether they prefer their district's Democratic or GOP congressional candidate, those likeliest to vote tilt toward the Republicans, 53 percent to 43 percent.
"Nothing's getting done," said Lisa Grimm, an independent from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, who like most in the poll said she is frustrated and disgusted with Washington politics. "Issues aren't being solved."
In a glimmer of hope for Democrats, the poll indicated that far from infatuated with the Republicans, the public is wary of both parties. Slightly more than half have an unfavorable view of each party, and about six in 10 disapprove of how each is handling the economy.
The survey showed that by 54 percent to 44 percent, most people support raising taxes on the highest earners, an issue that Obama and other top Democrats have thought could define their campaign-season differences with Republicans. Obama sought to capitalize on that edge Wednesday, accusing Republicans of holding tax cuts for the middle class "hostage" to force tax breaks for the wealthy.
"These are the same families who will suffer the most when their taxes go up next year," Obama said of middle-income earners, adding, "We don't have time for any more games."
Even so, the poll underscored the political pickle Democrats face in the tax fight. With broad tax reductions enacted under President George W. Bush expiring at year's end, Obama wants to renew the cuts for everyone except individuals earning at least $200,000 annually and couples making $250,000 and up.
Thirty-nine percent agree with Obama, while an additional 15 percent say the tax cuts should be allowed to lapse for everybody. Yet many Democrats seem wary, so close to Election Day, of provoking the 44 percent who say the reductions should include the wealthy.
While about three-fourths of Democrats favor raising taxes on the rich, about half of independents and nearly two-thirds of Republicans oppose the idea.
Support for cutting everyone's taxes exceeds four in 10 people in every region of the U.S. except the Midwest, where one-third back the proposal. Even among people earning under $50,000 a year – mainstays of the Democratic Party – 43 percent want to continue the tax cuts for all.
"You shouldn't be penalized for making a good living," said Charles Ricotta, a Democrat from Dunkirk, N.Y. "If you feel the government is cutting your throat, you might feel hesitant about hiring people."