Washington (CNN) - Only a third of all Americans think Bush-era tax cuts should be extended for families regardless of how much money they make, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday also indicates a vast majority of the public is in favor of allowing openly gay people to serve in the U.S. military. Both issues are high on the agenda for federal lawmakers who have returned to the nation's capitol this week for the lame duck session of Congress.
See the full results after the jump:
Full results (pdf)
Forty-nine percent of people questioned in the poll say the tax cuts should be extended for families making less than $250,000 a year, with another 15 percent saying the cuts should not be extended for anyone. That leaves 35 percent who favor an extension of the tax cuts for all Americans regardless of how much money they make.
The tax cuts were passed into law in first years of the presidency of George W. Bush. They are set to expire at the end of this year, unless a new bill is passed by Congress. The issue became a raging battle between Democrats and Republicans in the nation's capitol and on the campaign trail across the country the past three months. The White House and many, but not all, congressional Democrats want to keep such tax cuts in place for those in the middle class but roll them back for the wealthiest Americans. Republicans say the tax cuts should be kept in place for everyone.
"Among the general public, Republicans and Democrats agree that the tax cuts should be extended, but they differ on who should benefit," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Two-thirds of Democrats think that the tax cuts should be limited to families making less than $250,000. Fifty percent of Republicans think the tax cuts should be extended regardless of income."
The survey also indicates that 56 percent say that tax cuts and deficit reduction can be accomplished at the same time, with just over four in ten saying they disagree.
"Deficit reduction is important to many legislators, but most Americans probably think it should not stand in the way of lower taxes," adds Holland.
Another battle on Capitol Hill concerns the "don't ask, don't tell" law, which bans openly gay troops for serving in the military. A possible vote on repealing the measure is being debated by lawmakers.
According to the poll, more than seven in ten Americans think that people who are openly gay or lesbian should be allowed to serve in the military, with 23 percent opposed.
"On issues like this, there is usually a generation gap, with younger Americans much more supportive of gays and lesbians than older Americans," Holland said. "But on this question, roughly seven in ten in every age bracket favors openly gay and lesbian people being allowed to serve in the military."
Health care is unlikely to re-emerge while the Democrats control both sides of Capitol Hill, but it will probably do so next year, when the Republicans take control of the House of Representatives and reduce the Democrats' majority in the Senate.
The poll indicates the public continues to be split right down the middle on whether the health care bill passed into law earlier this year should be repealed: Forty-nine percent say it should; 48 percent say no. Of that 48 percent, 24 percent think that Congress should make additional changes to increase the government's involvement in the nation's health care system; 24 percent just want to leave well enough alone.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted November 11-14, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
Check out CNN's new Polling Center, which provides the most comprehensive polling data of any news organization in the political landscape.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report