WASHINGTON (CNN) – It's tax deadline day, and activists are holding events nationwide protesting their federal tax burden and the government's spending policy. But are most Americans angry about the taxes they pay?
A national Gallup poll conducted last week finds that 48 percent of Americans say the amount of federal income taxes they pay is about right. That's two points higher than the forty-six percent of those questioned who felt that the taxes they pay were too high. It's also the most positive assessment on taxes that Gallup's measured in six years.
"Most of the movement in the Gallup poll came among people who make less than $75,000 a year," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "A majority of people in that category say their taxes are not too high, and they are the ones that the Obama administration has been targeting with their tax policy and their message on taxes. Maybe that message is being heard."
Conservative protesters gathering at more than 300 organized "tea party" demonstrations across the country say they are steamed at President Obama and the massive government spending that has occurred since he took over at the White House, and that Washington takes too much from their pocketbooks and wallets.
Meanwhile, Obama Wednesday touted his tax cut for 95 percent of working class Americans, courtesy of his stimulus package that Congress passed and the President signed into law. Obama also said at a White House event that he's working toward "a simpler tax code that rewards work and the pursuit of the American dream."
Recent polling also suggests that a majority of Americans are giving the president a thumbs up when it comes to taxes. Sixty-two percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey conducted last month said they approve of how Obama is handling taxes. Thirty-seven percent disapproved.
That same poll also indicates that taxes are not the top economic concern. Only 11 percent said that taxes were the most important economic issue facing the country, trailing unemployment at 36 percent, inflation at 20 percent, the mortgage crisis at 16 percent and the stock market at 14 percent.
While Americans seem to like what the president's doing on taxes, it seems they might not be so happy with his $787 billion stimulus package and the $700 billion in taxpayer money being used to bailout financial institutions. In the CNN survey, support for the stimulus dropped from 60 percent in February to 54 percent last month. And most national polls show that the vast majority of Americans are not happy with the bailout.
"Whatever anger exists against Obama's track record so far comes when we ask about government assistance to big banks and big businesses," Holland says. "Americans don't mind assistance to individuals, such as people who may lose their homes, but aid for big institutions is not very popular today."