Poll: Taxes and benefits most important to Americans
November 23rd, 2010
01:09 PM ET
4 years ago

Poll: Taxes and benefits most important to Americans

(CNN) – Americans are most concerned about keeping their money out of the government's hands this holiday season, indicates a new Gallup poll.

When asked about the lame-duck Congress and to rate the importance of six possible actions lawmakers may take before year's end, those surveyed most want Capitol Hill to vote down an increase in the estate tax and to extend some form of the federal income tax cuts passed during the Bush administration.

Extending unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed ranked third in the poll, which was conducted through last weekend.

Fifty-six percent of Americans responded that passing legislation that would keep the estate tax from increasing significantly next year was very important to them. And half of Americans give the same rating to extending Bush-era tax cuts set to expire at the end of this year.

Forty-eight percent of survey respondents are most concerned with extending unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, according to the poll, and 4 in 10 believe it is important for Congress to ratify the new START treaty with Russia.

Political party priorities vary drastically: almost 7 in 10 Republicans say that the extending tax cuts and the prevention of estate tax increases are very important but, overwhelmingly, Democrats choose the extension of unemployment benefits as their top cause. The next priority for Democrats is ratifying the START treaty, though only half rank it as very important.

Repealing "don't ask, don't tell," the policy that prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. military, falls at the bottom of the list for the GOP, while the extension of tax cuts takes last place on the priority list for Democrats.

The survey suggests that Americans follow the trend of the GOP when it comes to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. About one in four say it is not too/not at all important. Similarly, the country is less concerned with Congress acting on the DREAM Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. who were brought to the country as children. Thirty-eight percent say it is not too/not at all important.

Gallup's poll was conducted by telephone from November 19-21 among 1,037 adults. It has a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.


Filed under: Congress • Polls
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Terrence

    Are you all crazy to make a stupid poll or like period. com'mon man!!!

    November 23, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Republicans care only about the wealthy: They don't want the top 2% to pay their fair share, living or dead.

    So much for all the Repug's lip service to the "average American."

    November 23, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    Warren Buffet, the third wealthiest person IN THE WORLD, today said that the wealthy in our country should be paying much more in taxes.

    He also said that cutting taxes for the top 2% wage earners does NOT result in job creation here in the United States, and cited the fact that it hasn't happened in the 10 years of the Bush tax cuts as proof.

    And still people are buying into the Republican lie ... what a nation of idiots we have become! But then again, Republicans like us that way ...

    November 23, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. Mescalero Springs

    I am sure the lame-duck Congress will continue to ignore the will of the people. Thank God for small favors we will not have these weak people leading us in the next Congress. The uncertainty of taxes has contributed to higher unemployment along with companies and taxpayers holding onto cash. " The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. Thomas Jefferson "

    November 23, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Nancy Pelosi, the wicked witch of the west, the DemocRAT gift that just keeps on giving

    Sorry people, TWO YEARS on unemployment is already too much. Do the DemocRATS intend to make it 3 years, or maybe 4 or 5 years? After all, that is their long term projection for high unemployment in the country. Given their policies, they might be under estimating it! They are driving the economy and the country into the ground but want to buy people off with unemployment so they get addicted to government handouts for years on end.

    November 23, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  6. NVa Native

    Come on greedy Repubs listen to the people – We the People – We need to cancel the tax subsidies for the wealthiest 2%.

    November 23, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Making sure the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy is my top priority. If they do not, I want them to expire for everyone. They are not paid for which is why they were meant to expire. That is issue #1. Issue # 2 is Afghanistan. Issue #3 is the passing of the START Treaty. Issue #4, the repeal of DADT. And Issue #5 is the DREAM Act.

    November 23, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. Jim from Va

    And as usual most Democrats as well as president Obama just don't get it.Most Americans want to be able to go back to work and to be able to chase the American dream.Obama wants them to depend on the goverment for all their needs.In his socialist utopia all people should be grateful to the goverment for what they have.

    November 23, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. Matt P

    I find it odd that the things that dont affect them, dont affect the economy or create jobs are the highest on some peoples lists. The estate tax will not affect those 56% seem to think its in their best interests to keep it low.

    November 23, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  10. Katie

    "Fifty-six percent of Americans responded that passing legislation that would keep the estate tax from increasing significantly next year was very important to them"

    I find this really hard to believe – reinstating the estate tax would effect a only handful of Americans. Either the respondents didn't comprehend the question, have no idea what estate taxes are, or this poll is completely bogus.

    November 23, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. Ken

    The survey shows the disconect wiith reality the Republicans have. 75% don't want the Estate tax to go back to pre-Bush rates when less then 2% of estates qualify for the Estate tax. So the rich get richer and to hell with the unemployed.
    The Democrats seem to know what is best for the country as a whole, extending the unemployement benefits and passing the START treaty.
    The Democrats seem to have common sense and the Republicans seem to follow in lock step with the conservative media.

    November 23, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. Mike

    Americans never cease to amaze me. Why would such a large percentage of the populace rank lowering Estate taxes so high on their priority list. Was this poll only taken in Beverly Hills? Or has a certain side of the political aisle convinced ignorant Americans that this issue somehow affects them? Stunning!

    November 23, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. mike

    reds looking out for the rich and blues for the newly poor due to the red capitalist greed that victimized them.

    November 23, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. Bruce

    Sounds to me like most people are confusing estate taxes with property taxes. I wonder if the poll even considered this fact. Who cares if a dead person's estate is taxed...except maybe the greedy beneficiary.

    November 23, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. stufthis

    Republicans are pretty good at passing national debt from unnecessary tax cuts and wars as well as the effects of environmental pollution on to our grandchildren.

    November 23, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. gfiltefish

    That is reasonable. But American people should also be ready for the outcome of this demands for example they should get ready to have roads that are rough and impassable. That collapsing bridge will be the norm or they can row their own boat on the other side of the river if they want to be safe. They should start burning their pile of garbage in front of their own houses. stockpile on guns because their will be reduction of the police officers to protect them. They should also start homeschooling their children because there will be no money for teachers and public school.
    WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK ? EVERY FREEBIES YOU ENJOY AND PAID FOR ARE NOT FREE AND PRICE TO BUILD THIS INFRASTRUCTURE ARE GOING UP... IF YOU DON'T WANT TO PAY TAXES. THEN DON'T KEEP YOUR MONEY BUT BE PREPARED TO LIVE IN A THIRD WORLD KIND OF ENVIRONMENT. THERE IS NO EXTRA MONEY TO LOWER YOUR TAX
    PAY FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF THE ROAD OR PEOPLE PUT OUT YOUR FIRE TO DRIVE YOU TO HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM OR TO PROTECT YOU OR PICK UP YOUR OWN MESS.THE COUNTRY IS IN DEPRESSION MODE. YOU DON'T WANT TO BORROW MONEY AND ESPECIALLY YOU DON'T WANT TO PAY TAXES. BUT HERE'S THE FACT MONEY DON'T GROW ON AMERICAN TREES. FIGURE OUT WHERE TO GET THE MONEY YOURSELF OR ELSE SHUT UP AND LET PEOPLE YOU VOTE FOR FIGURE THIS OUT.

    November 23, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. Haren

    56% percent stupid American does not know that estate tax does not affect them , what a bunch of uneducated American we have in this country.
    They really deserve republican to screw them again.

    November 23, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |