Washington (CNN) - As top Democrats and Republicans continue negotiations over extending the Bush-era tax cuts, a new national poll indicates that a slight majority of Americans are opposed to the wealthiest Americans receiving those cuts.
According to a CBS News survey released Thursday evening, 53 percent of the public says that the cuts should be extended only for families making a combined income of less that $250,000 a year, with 26 percent saying the lower tax rates should be continued for all Americans, and 14 percent saying they should be allowed to expire at the end of the year.
The 26 percent in the CBS News poll who say that the cuts should be extended for all Americans is lower than the figures in other recent surveys.
Four in ten questioned in a USA Today/Gallup survey released Wednesday say that the cuts should be extended for all Americans, with 44 percent saying they support extending the tax breaks but setting limits on how much of wealthy Americans' income is eligible for the lower rates, and 13 percent saying the cuts should be allowed to expire at the end of the year.
An Associated Press-CNBC poll released Tuesday indicates that half of those questioned wanted tax cuts to be extended only for families making under $250,000 a year, with 34 percent saying they should be extended for all Americans, and 14 percent calling for the cuts to sunset for everyone at the end of the year.
Forty-nine percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey conducted in the middle of November said 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 left 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 the 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 during 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.
The CBS poll and the other recent surveys indicate a partisan divide on the issue. Forty-six percent of Republicans questioned say that tax cuts should be extended for all Americans. That number drops to one in four for independents questioned and down to one in ten for Democrats surveyed.
All parties involved in Tuesday's meeting at the White House between President Barack Obama and top congressional leaders from both parties said they are committed to start negotiations to seek a compromise.
Senate Democrats are moving ahead with a vote Saturday on a pair of bills that could extend Bush-era tax cuts. Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure 234-188 to allow tax cuts instituted under President George W. Bush to expire this December 31 for Americans with incomes above a quarter-million dollars annually.
The CBS News poll was conducted November 29-December 1, with 808 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.
Listen to CNN's Candy Crowley and Bob Costantini chat on the big sticking points of tax cuts and deficit reduction:
Check out CNN's new Polling Center, which provides the most comprehensive polling data covering national questions and the top 2010 election races of any news organization in the political landscape.