Poll: Majority say no tax cut extension for wealthy
December 3rd, 2010
09:30 AM ET
3 years ago

Poll: Majority say no tax cut extension for wealthy

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.


Filed under: Polls • Taxes
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Srirama Venkataraman

    Conservatives and Liberals are you listening...specifically Bohener, Canter & McConnell...Instead of wasting your time in servitude for the extreme minorities on left & right serve those who propel America...Time to compromise and clean up the tax code. Also please read reports which suggests tax cuts aren't going to help the economy grow. You need job less to get jobs to enjoy tax benefits....

    December 3, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. Peggy - TX

    60M to extend unemployment benefits that legitimate economist agree would go to Americans who are the most likely to spend it and this increase consumption of goods and services that directly will increase the demand for goods and services that drives job createion; whereas 700M to go to the top 2% income earners may drive the demand for luxusry goods that will help only to a small degree drive job creation, but the jobs are not will targeted to the US but world wide and the effect would not help significantly to stoke the engine that runs the US economy.

    How can U REAL:LY really DUMB paid professional bloggers sleep at night, pushing the Republican party lies promoting the skimming off the cream from the productivity of hard working Americans for the benefit of fewer and fewer individuals and then refusing, in effect, to feed the cash cow that is in desperate need of care.

    We need to double thepending increase in tax rate for the top 2% income earners and increace tax on capital gains as well!!!!.

    December 3, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  3. Jaywing

    Of course, what isn't said is that the GOP doesn't really care about the actual people who are unemployed. It's the GOP who refuse to extend unemployment to those in need, but cry loud and long about how the rich, the banks, wall street and the insurance companies need more, More, MORE! The GOP is out fo touch with the majority of America, but we stupid Americans gave the party who drove the economy into the ditch in 2008, the keys to teh car in 2010 so they can drive it off a cliff. We collectively must be the most stupid people on the planet.

    December 3, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. Al-NY,NY

    Not even 50% of REPUBLICANS want the rich to get their breaks. 25% of independents and 10% of Democrats want it. Whatever happened to "the will of the people"????? Oh yeah, it only applies when it's something THEY don't like. What a bunch of fakers.

    December 3, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. tony

    Golly. That "slight majority" would be a total landslide in any national elections.

    December 3, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  6. LouAz

    This 808 person telephone poll contradicts CNNs 1,037 person telephone poll during the same period. Which poll should anyone believe ? These are all "make news" polls that all talking heads to chat on TV instead of talking about meaningful poll results. There are 200,000,000+ Income Tax filers in the US. Poll at least 10,000 of them before you report "the will of the people" !

    December 3, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  7. Marry

    Majority say…You are kidding, are you CNN? What does the GOP/TP care what the majority says as long as they stay rich and in power? Also, they got their country back, yep! Glorious days are back – for 2% of the people. But, do not whine, you voted for them…

    December 3, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  8. chew nut

    100 percent of americans .. INCLUDING warren buffet and bill gates... still DO NOT understand the rich don't pay tax .. the people do.. it's called circular economics.. aka.. coporations don't pay tax.. people do..

    December 3, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. joesnopy

    Give the rich a cut only if they keep the jobs in America people. Get real the rich has sent millions of America jobs over seas the last ten years so wake up America. A tax cut for the rich will not keep job in America unless you make them keep more job in America. One day you nuts will wake up. Look at the Germans they know better.

    December 3, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. TimInNC

    Of course now that the "majotiry" is working against them those supporting extending the tax cuts for income exceeding $250,000/yr will want to ignore the will of "We the People".

    December 3, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Sniffit

    I guess those big government Republicans really did learn their lesson, which was really just further reinforcement of something they quite clearly already knew:

    Lie, fabricate, pander, obstruct, delay, distract, demogogue and misinform, scare and anger as many people as possible when you're not in power and wrap it up in affirmations of what they want to hear...and the morons will vote for you even if it is against their own interests. Then you can just do whatever helps your biggest source of campaign donations once you're elected, and to hell with what you told your mindless, scared, angry, gullible, tinfoil-hat-brigade minions you were going to do.

    December 3, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. Thank God I am a Democrat

    Remember when the repubs kept saying the majority of people didn't want the health reform and the dems weren't listening. The tables have no turned. Will the repubs listen? Of course not! Alll that not listening stuff they were screaming before was just "chicken crap". They aren't any better and will prove it here.

    December 3, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. Isaac Davis

    Since about the people in this country don't pay any income taxes at all, it should not come as a surprise that they want the raise taxes on the people who do pay them. They don't have any skin the game. The Democrats have stated that the "rich" should have their taxes raised because they don't "spend" their money like the middle class; all they do with their extra money is "invest" it. Yeah, like in businesses (creating jobs), etc. etc. If you don't like 9.8% unemployment now, you'll love what happens when the "rich" stop having the money to waste on "investments" and business have less resources to hire people.

    December 3, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  14. Isaac Davis

    Previous post should have read, "about half the people in the country don't pay any income taxes".

    December 3, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. Sniffit

    "On Tuesday the Department of Labor issued an independent study commissioned by the Bush Administration and co‐authored by the chief economic advisor to John McCain’s Presidential campaign, finding that since mid‐2008, the federal unemployment insurance programs have saved 1.6 million jobs in every quarter – averting 1.8 million layoffs per quarter at the height of the downturn – and that the programs reduced the unemployment rate by 1.2 points.

    The DOL study also affirmed the multiplier effect of unemployment insurance: “For every dollar
    spent on unemployment insurance, this report finds an increase in economic activity of two
    dollars,” it states.

    A new Congressional Budget Office study this week echoed the DOL findings, saying that “the
    extensions of unemployment insurance benefits in the past few years increased both
    employment and participation in the labor force over what they would otherwise have been in
    2009."

    A Census Bureau report in September found that 3.3 million people, including 1 million children,
    were kept out of poverty with income support provided through unemployment insurance, a
    NELP analysis of the study explained.

    Goldman Sachs analyst Alec Phillips has projected that allowing the federal unemployment
    insurance programs to expire will cut consumer spending significantly and reduce already‐languid
    GDP growth by half a percentage point.

    A Congressional Budget Office report from January ranks unemployment insurance as the most
    effective stimulus to the economy, generating $1.90 in economic activity for every $1 the
    government spends. The report ranks tax cuts for wealthy Americans as the least effective
    method of economic stimulus."

    -NELP, 11/19/10

    December 3, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. BOb the Prairie Dog

    The Republicans said they were going to enforce the will of the American people. Well, we're waiting...

    December 3, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  17. A disillusioned Republican

    These number support the premise that the republicans are lying again when they say that Americans want tax cuts for everyone. That should be no surprise because republicans are known as the corrupt party of liars. Enough said!

    December 3, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  18. Benjamin

    Republicans should listen to the people, which they proclaim to do, and stop whining about tax cut extensions for the well to do.

    December 3, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  19. GL

    53 PERCENT IS THE same number of people that voted for President Obama. Please Mr. President listen to the people that voted you in.

    December 3, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. Kara

    Why aren't the rest of the media carrying this story?
    The republicans are a bunch of fascist money grubbing good for nothings. 700Billion for the wealthy and nothing for the poor.
    How d'you like them family values!

    December 3, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. Sara

    GOP are deaf. they are not listening to American people. all they care is how to get rich, tax break for rich.

    December 3, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  22. rusty155

    Tell John Boehner to read this poll and find out want the real AMERICAN PEOPLE want about these tax cuts. Not the make believe John Boehner want to help the RICH.

    December 3, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. al in memphis

    Normally, the Republicans and Tea People are all over these polls results by saying The American People" have spoken. I guess the message is that it time for people to pay their fair share.

    December 3, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. king

    the rich payed billions of dollars to the repugs for two things; tax cut for the rich and deregulation. this tax cut fiasco havent worked in 10 years, why they think it would work in 2 or 3 or even 4 years from now. the rich is in business for one thing; the bottom line, and they will do every underminded stuff to preserve that even if they see it as being destructive to america's future. the one thing that make america so strong, is the middle class because they provide the economy with most of their demand power. if they should lose their spot in the economy. we will be in a whole heep of trouble. the big corporation want to globalize, that means dealing with other country in business. they will appease them with american jobs to gain their trust and their businesses. the middle class will die because of this, because instead of paying the middle class 30 an 40 dollars an hour they can easily pay the chinese 10 dollars an hour and gain the same quality in production. now the middle class have no choice but to compete with the chinese and indian wages and still keep up their life style of boasting the american econmy, virtually imposible. the trikle down economy wont work because the big corporation have to install confidence and loyalty to the people that buy the most product from them, Mainstreet virses india and china is no competition so guest who is going to get the bigges part of the PIE, not the mainstreet. the government need to step in and take the rich tax break money and creat the REBUILDING AMERICA INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM, (RAPTS) including NASA. The FED will employ 6 to 7 million people directly creating epic demand money which will start new small businesses, and even more employments to out of work people. the states will get their money via state tax revenues.

    December 3, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  25. Dave

    That is because apparantly the "majority" of people who believe this nonsense have been listening to CNN hype up class warfare for the better part of a decade.

    Democrats get more donations from Wall St... yet they have you believing Republicans are in the tank for them

    Democrats got twice as much PAC money this election cycle... yet they were complaining about the amount Republicans got.

    The so-called rich and tax cuts is ridiculous. The bottom half (48%) of income earners in the USA do NOT PAY ANY federal income tax. NONE.

    Breakdown of Federal Income tax (which is what we are talking about):

    Top 5% – pay 54.36% of ALL Federal income tax collected

    Top 10% – pay 65.84% of ALL Federal income tax collected

    Top 50% – pay 96.54% of ALL Federal income tax collected

    So whenever people complain and whine about the "rich" geting a tax break it is ridiculous: they are the ones paying most the taxes!!!!!!!!!! Of course if you cut taxes they have to get a big chunk of it.

    If we don't, then their money and business go elsewhere and then less people are working due to less jobs and even less people are paying taxes. It is proven throught our history.

    IT IS FACT.

    California is showing us, again, right now. They increased taxes on the wealthy over the years and increased taxes on businesses. Their jobless rate goes up and so far 144 business have left the state. Why set up shop there when you can do it cheaper in Utah or Arizona?

    Another example: TEXAS... they have decreased all taxes and taxes on companies especially. Of all the jobs in the private sector created from Aug 2009 to Aug 2010, HALF were created in Texas. Coincidence?

    Yet, so many just look the other way and scream about the rich with this class envy BS.

    December 3, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
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