New CNN Poll: Majority want tax increase for wealthy and deep spending cuts
August 10th, 2011
05:30 AM ET
3 years ago

New CNN Poll: Majority want tax increase for wealthy and deep spending cuts

Washington (CNN) - Most Americans want a special congressional committee tasked with drafting a long-term solution to the nation's mounting federal deficits to include tax hikes for the wealthy and businesses and deep cuts in domestic spending, according to a new national survey.

A CNN/ORC International Poll released Wednesday also indicates that the public doesn't want the super committee to propose major changes to Social Security and Medicare or increase taxes on middle class and lower-income Americans.

Read full results (PDF).


Under the debt ceiling deal passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama last week, a panel of 12 legislators - six Democrats and six Republicans, equally divided between the House and Senate - will be created to try to work out $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction after an initial round of more than $900 billion in spending cuts.

If the committee fails to reach agreement or Congress fails to pass whatever package it recommends, a trigger mechanism will enact further across-the-board cuts in government spending, including for the military.

According to the poll, 63 percent say the super committee should call for increased taxes on higher-income Americans and businesses, with 36 percent disagreeing. And by a 57 to 40 percent margin they say the committee's deficit reduction proposal should include major cuts in domestic spending.

But cuts in defense spending get a mixed review: Forty-seven percent would like the committee to include major cuts in military spending, with 53 percent saying no to such cuts.

Nearly two-thirds say no to major changes to Social Security and Medicare. And nearly nine in ten don't want any increase in taxes on middle class and lower income Americans.

"Republicans and Democrats disagree on the need for cuts in domestic and military spending, as well as tax increases for higher-income Americans, but they do agree that the committee should stay away from tax hikes for the middle class and major changes to Social Security and Medicare," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

According to the survey, only a third say that taxes on wealthy people should be kept low because higher-income Americans help create jobs, with 62 percent saying that taxes on the wealthy should be high so the government can use the money for programs to help lower-income Americans.

"That sentiment has changed little since the 1990s," adds Holland.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International on August 5-7, with 1,008 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey was conducted both before and after Friday night's downgrading of the country's credit rating by Standard and Poor's. The poll's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

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


Filed under: CNN/ORC poll • Congress • Debt • Deficit
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Americans returned the GOP to the helm of the U.S. Titantic, giving them a 2nd chance for a direct hit at the iceberg!

    It does not matter what the the "will of the people" may want, only what the 87 House tea baggers want.

    And now we know they are willing to see "America fail" rather than do the "will of the people"!

    August 10, 2011 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  2. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Duh,this was clear during the whole teabagger hostage scene but they are too delusional to care about America. They hate the black President so anything goes. The teabagger downgrade "Let's Default" clips should dominate the ads on TV and radio leading to election day,along with Ryan's kill Medicare votes.

    August 10, 2011 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  3. Marie MD

    Well, doh! I take it that nobody in Washington was listening in the last eight months to the little people. Wait, the little people are the ones getting screwed why would anyone want to listen to us.
    Sixty three percent to 36%. I take it that those fools in congress don't believe in poll numbers either.

    August 10, 2011 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  4. Name king

    Hey if government diidnt control social security and Medicare this country would be in a whole lot of trouble. We are not taking in nearly enough tax revenue money to run this country, at a matter of fact we are taking in the lowest revenue in over 60 years, this is simply unsustainable looking at the deficit we have. Social security and Medicare programs are taking in surplus which the government is using to plug their outrageous bills, depleting their funds every month. Obama had a chance to get the government running health care program but he allowed the repugs to scare him into allowing the private sector to control the healthcare program. If Obama didn't go against his liberal base and allowed health care to be controlled by the government, we would have 3 major programs pushing surplus money into the government, this would allow the government to be more flexible, and could have borrowed money from the healthcare program just like its doing right now with social security and Medicare. The private insurance companies have the health care programs and they are being extremely greedy, and with the repugs backing they are taking the American people for a ride.

    August 10, 2011 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  5. Ibamaliar

    So again CNN what your saying is the ones you polled want the rich to pay for the rest of the nation's welfare. All the Illegals and the ones who do not intend to work. Good deal if you can get it. GOOD LUCK. if our Congress passes such silly nonsense without taxing the others then they are totally socialist.

    August 10, 2011 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  6. Ralph

    My opinion is the rich and corporations should pay more taxes, AND, corporate tax loop holes like write off's for extravagant perks like corporate jets have got to be taken away.

    BUT I want MODERATE cuts in spending, (in part because large cuts will make the recession worse).

    I think the age at which maximum benefits for Social Security should be increased to 67.

    August 10, 2011 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Polls are nice, aren't they....
    Yet it appears that with Team Teabag you can poll until the cows come home and it won't make a difference to them. You see, they signed this PLEDGE to some guy name Norquist, and evidently HE is wayyyy more important than ALL Americans combined.
    Taking those polls is like writing on this blog, a nice outlet but totally useless.

    August 10, 2011 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  8. TomInRochNY

    So, will the committee follow the will of the people or their moneyed backers? This should be interesting.

    August 10, 2011 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  9. John, PA

    Here is the one specific Tax Increase Americans want:
    If you are a registered Democrat, vote Democratic or donate any money to a Democrat, you pay an additional 15% tax on all income, capital gains, money you take in. This will get the 51% that pay no taxes to have some skin in the game and share the sacrifice. This will get Warren Buffett, Teresa Heinz and the other bleeding heart liberals to pay their far share.

    August 10, 2011 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  10. Brian Jernigan

    The top 1% of taxpayers already pay 40% of all income taxes after earning only 17% of the income. At what point do you think these people stop being producers or take their prodution to Austrailia, New Zealand, or Brazil just like a lot of overtaxed corporations have. 50% of americans don't pay any income taxes. Wake up people! Befor long, you're going to be trying to squeeze blood from a turnip.

    August 10, 2011 07:48 am at 7:48 am |