CNN Poll: Three-quarters approve of new tax cut law
December 20th, 2010
12:33 PM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Three-quarters approve of new tax cut law

Washington (CNN) - Most Americans like the new tax cut law that President Barack Obama signed into law on Friday, according to a new national poll.

And a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday also indicates that while the tax cut compromise the president struck with congressional Republicans didn't spark Obama's overall approval rating, it may have given him a boost as "Triangulator in Chief."

View the Full results (pdf)

Forty-eight percent of people questioned in the poll say they approve of the job Obama's doing in the White House, with an equal amount saying they disapprove of how he's handling his duties.

"The president's approval rating is exactly where it was in mid-November before he brokered the tax cut compromise that angered some liberals and conservatives alike," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But while he has lost some ground with liberals, he has gained support among moderates. That's important if Obama plans to borrow a page from former President Bill Clinton's playbook and try to win re-election by 'triangulating' between the leaders of both parties on the Hill."

The survey does indicate a slight deterioration among liberals, who generally opposed the tax cut compromise because it extended for two years the Bush-era lower income tax rates for the highest earners and because of a a revival of the estate tax at a lower level, which benefits the wealthy. The president's approval rating among self-described liberals dropped from 79 percent in November to 72 percent.

At the same time, Obama's approval rating improved among moderates - from 55 percent in November to 60 percent now. "That gain among moderates helped offset the drop among liberals," Holland notes. "And that's what 'triangulation' is all about - taking a hit among your base voters in order to improve your standing with swing voters who are more
likely to vote for your opponent."

The poll also indicates that 55 percent of the public thinks Obama's policies will move the country in the right direction, with just over four in ten saying the president's policies will move the nation in the wrong direction. Obama's 55 percent is 11 points higher than the 44 percent who say the policies of congressional Republican leaders will move the country in the right direction. Americans are split at 48 percent on whether what congressional Democrats are proposing will move the country along the right path.

Fifty-one percent say that the GOP's policies will move the country in the wrong direction, which could serve as a sobering reality check for Republicans who just last month won back control of the House of Representatives and trimmed the Democrats majority in the Senate.

"Since the GOP just picked up 63 seats in the House, what's not to like about their policies? The tax bill may be a good place to start," says Holland.

According to the poll, 56 percent of the public say that the bill does too much for wealthy Americans and six in ten don't like extending the tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 or the changes in the estate tax. And less than one in four believe that their personal situation will improve as a result of the tax bill. Only four in ten favor an increase in the federal deficit to pay for tax cut compromise.

But despite those figures, three-quarters of all Americans approve of the tax bill overall, including the extension of jobless benefits for the long term unemployed.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted December 17-19, with 1,008 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

-– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN


Filed under: CNN Polls • Polls • President Obama • Taxes
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Four and The Door

    Even more important than his approval rating is today's poll is the boost in approval he will get when unemployment numbers finally drop and unemployment benefits go back to what they are supposed to be instead of a perpetual welfare program.

    December 20, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. Indie Woman in Denver

    I'm not one of the majority that approved of this tax deal - I think the Repubs got too much. They didn't care about the middle class, and were willing to hold them hostage to get the BIG bucks for the rich. When are the American people going to pay attn to fact that the GOP in congress only cares about themselves & their rich biddies?

    December 20, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. TomInRochNY

    So, most Americans don't like what the GOP were fighting tooth and nail for. We'll see how that turns out in 2012 if this doesn't create jobs for middle class America, which it won't.

    December 20, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Democrats Class Warfare - Destroying the economy and country

    Geee... where are the leftists from the DemocRAT House in this picture? Funny how they have RUN from what 75% of the American people approve of. Isn't that the definition of being "out of touch" with the American people? But they have ALWAYS placed their class warfare above all else, including the economy. This is why we have have 2 years of record unemployment!

    December 20, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Polls are nice......
    Meanwhile....who crapped in Sarah Palin's Twinkie this time?

    December 20, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. ChumBucket

    "Indie Woman in Denver

    I'm not one of the majority that approved of this tax deal – I think the Repubs got too much. They didn't care about the middle class, and were willing to hold them hostage to get the BIG bucks for the rich. When are the American people going to pay attn to fact that the GOP in congress only cares about themselves & their rich biddies?"

    Since it isn't true, why would anyone pay attn?

    December 20, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  7. Rickster

    Keep in mind that this puts Obama in the 23% who oppose the law. He and his nutjob vice-president have said that he is personally opposed to the compromise but it was the only deal he could get. But I guess this is an improvement...up to now 75% of the people have opposed everything he has proposed but he did it anyway. Worst President Ever.

    December 20, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ...Oh,and Obama will be re-elected for a second term.
    Praise Jesus.

    December 20, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. Tom Sawyer

    They're not tax cuts. Taxes remain the same.

    The economy will finally start to move as it should have if this was addressed two years ago if the rulers hadn't been distracted by social programs.

    Who would of thunk of that!

    December 20, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. Jon Torok

    This just in, 75% of Americans are stupid. They'll be rioting just like Greece in a few years though.

    December 20, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. republicans = Neanderthals

    Just means 3/4 of the population is misinformed. During the 20s we had the lowest tax rate ever. As a result the great depression. Bush gave us the 2nd lowest tax rate ever. As a result the great recession. The highest tax rates ever during the 50s created the largest and most sustained growth ever which carried into the early 60s. We then had stagnation for the next decade because JFK lowered them. People, we need to tax the rich. I'm willing to have my taxes go up because it'll improve the economy and I'll start making more money at work. This also shows that people only care about themselves and not for the majority. Thank God we have the 25% smart peoples still!

    December 20, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. Monster Zero

    Tax Cut? What tax cut, it maintained existing tax code rates and in order to do so had a deficit spending tag stuck on it as unemployment continuance. Democrats....what can you say nasty that hasn't been said already?

    December 20, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. Annie, Atlanta

    I don't approve of it. Who is going to have to pay? Our senior citizens, giving up a percentage of their Social Security or Medicare? People who make a thousand dollars a month, having to pay for billionaires to get an extra 3% tax break. It's obvious that our government has been bought and paid for by the monied interests. Now what are we going to do about it? Let them keep taking from us to give to the rich, or what?

    December 20, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. Annie, Atlanta

    Four and the Door, what do you propose we do when our government allows corporations to ship jobs overseas so they can keep more money in their pockets, and give them a tax break to boot for it. Are we supposed to just let these people drop dead? Is that the kind of country you envision for all of us? Seriously? Statistics show that there is 1 job for every six people looking, all thanks to conservative policies over the last 30 years plus. Continuous welfare my backside. Try living on what unemployment pays. Here in GA max is $330 a week, before taxes. Not exactly a get rich scheme going on here. We're talking just barely enough to feed a family of four – the heck with clothes and shelter. This attitude of yours makes me sick. And the fact that your side held these millions of people hostage for a 3% tax break for millionaires and billionaires makes me even sicker. Are y'all even human anymore?

    December 20, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. John K

    The Right hates it, the Left hates it, but 75% of the American public approves of it. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

    December 20, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. rob

    Two things:
    First, it was President Obama who said (paraphrasing) economists say that extending the tax rates will add an additional point to GDP and increase private sector employment in 2011. Although this is a Republican policy to restart the economy, President Obama had to "Sell It" to the Dem Congress. He knows that it flys in the face of all his rhetoric of the past 2 years, but he also knows its THE RIGHT POLICY.
    Second, I've seen polls saying that 7 in ten feel the country is headed in the wrong direction. Question, who has been running the Govt for the past two years? DEMOCRATS thats who and we voted them out in a landslide..

    CNN polls Republican policies weeks before they take over as the majority in Congress, totally bogus. Lets see how people feel after a year of common sense budget cutting and more pro growth policies that Obama will be forced to adopt because of the will of the American people, more Republican legislators and his desire to get re-elected..

    December 20, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. billcf

    Why Why!!!!! __2/3__ The working middle class get crumbs off the floor. The top 2% gets 100 of Billions dollars'

    DUMB DUMB!!!!! We need good Jobs not more welfare for the rich.

    December 20, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  18. David in Seattle

    It's silly to attach an meaninful conclusion from this poll. If 75% think there is something in it for them, of course 75% would approve of it. The other 25% won't get anything or see the folly in keeping the tax cuts. Ever since Reagan and his "Voodoo Economics" we have be led to believe that we can all get something for nothing.

    December 20, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. Chabuka

    Now they can get on with the GOP plan of cutting all "entitlements", (lazy Cadillac queens and the like) privatizing social security and medi-care, taking pensions and lowering wages to a more "competitive" world wage (compete with China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnamese, Mexican wages, etc.).... and/for Corporation dominance and profit...watching the Governor of New Jersey last night who insists we don't have an "income problem" we have a "spending problem" (horse manure platitudes of austerity)...was priceless....and completely off base....we seem to have plenty of money or can borrow it, for the wealthiest American's pleasure or tax cuts, loopholes and subsidies for Coporations....but social security for old people who have worked all their lives or for sick underprivileged children, education or veterans benefits, roads and bridges,etc., ...fogedaboutit!

    December 20, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. Tim

    three quarters approve of the BUSH tax cuts that Obama campaigned against.

    December 20, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |