April 15th, 2009
02:49 PM ET
14 years ago

Americans give Obama thumbs up on taxes

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's tax deadline day, and activists are holding events nationwide protesting their federal tax burden and the government's spending policy. But are most Americans angry about the taxes they pay?

A national Gallup poll conducted last week finds that 48 percent of Americans say the amount of federal income taxes they pay is about right. That's two points higher than the forty-six percent of those questioned who felt that the taxes they pay were too high. It's also the most positive assessment on taxes that Gallup's measured in six years.

"Most of the movement in the Gallup poll came among people who make less than $75,000 a year," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "A majority of people in that category say their taxes are not too high, and they are the ones that the Obama administration has been targeting with their tax policy and their message on taxes. Maybe that message is being heard."

Conservative protesters gathering at more than 300 organized "tea party" demonstrations across the country say they are steamed at President Obama and the massive government spending that has occurred since he took over at the White House, and that Washington takes too much from their pocketbooks and wallets.

Meanwhile, Obama Wednesday touted his tax cut for 95 percent of working class Americans, courtesy of his stimulus package that Congress passed and the President signed into law. Obama also said at a White House event that he's working toward "a simpler tax code that rewards work and the pursuit of the American dream."

Recent polling also suggests that a majority of Americans are giving the president a thumbs up when it comes to taxes. Sixty-two percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey conducted last month said they approve of how Obama is handling taxes. Thirty-seven percent disapproved.

That same poll also indicates that taxes are not the top economic concern. Only 11 percent said that taxes were the most important economic issue facing the country, trailing unemployment at 36 percent, inflation at 20 percent, the mortgage crisis at 16 percent and the stock market at 14 percent.

While Americans seem to like what the president's doing on taxes, it seems they might not be so happy with his $787 billion stimulus package and the $700 billion in taxpayer money being used to bailout financial institutions. In the CNN survey, support for the stimulus dropped from 60 percent in February to 54 percent last month. And most national polls show that the vast majority of Americans are not happy with the bailout.

"Whatever anger exists against Obama's track record so far comes when we ask about government assistance to big banks and big businesses," Holland says. "Americans don't mind assistance to individuals, such as people who may lose their homes, but aid for big institutions is not very popular today."

Filed under: President Obama • Taxes
soundoff (129 Responses)
  1. david

    let me guess. the people who say taxes are too high probably said this because they thought Obama has raised them. Not true, Obama has dropped taxes..

    If you want a road built, prepare to pay taxes, fools. Aint nothing FREE is society

    April 15, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  2. Mobius

    SLANT much, CNN? C'mon.

    48% approve means 52% do not approve.

    At what liberal college did you take advanced math?

    You had a choice for the article title. You lose more and more credibility every day.

    April 15, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA


    April 15, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. SA

    It doesn't matter to Obama's staff they are exempt from paying taxes.
    Ask someone who pays taxes.
    I can't wait till he is out.....

    April 15, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Scott

    A two point difference is hardly stastically significant. It's really a dead heat.

    April 15, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. Gordon Shumway

    I suspect Gallup selected their polling subjects very carefully and a goodly amount were on welfare. Polls usually are goal-driven, gallup was at one time respectable, but they've been "influenced" like everything else.

    April 15, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. rachel

    Oh come on cnn lets not spin stuff to much wouldn't you say 48/46 is about split ?

    April 15, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Hammer

    These polls are taken from Democratic voters only! If the rest of the citizens included the numbers are quiet different. But that would make Obama look bad.

    April 15, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Reality Check

    This is interesting... since this tax cut sure has NOT helped our family. Neither has the stimulus package. We have paid our mortgage on time and according to the "rules" we do not qualify to refinance our loan for a lower interest rate. Quite honestly, this "stimulus" was made for a a select few......

    April 15, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. Sarty

    63% are real Americans,
    37% are tea bagger

    April 15, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. Cynthia - Arkansas

    What about those nuts marching around today. I loved the clip that CNN showed. Those people don't like it because they are GETTING a tax cut. Just a bunch of ignorant people stirred up by Fox Noise. Thanks for the laugh!

    April 15, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    Once Obama's economic policies have ended the most severe recession since the Great Depression we all need to pay higher taxes to start paying down our national debt. Especially the top couple percent who pay less payroll and capital gains taxes then most working Americans. The top 1% has never paid such little in taxes historically then now!

    It's about responcibility and equity!

    April 15, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Moderate Democrat

    Perfectly timed.

    When you look at an aerial view of todays gathering in Washington, and the compare it to an aerial view of January 20th, 2009, you might understand and fully appreciate the fabric of america.:

    "Majority Rule"

    You can protest, but if you are in the MINORITY...then just keep on crying, because the educated 'true' patriots of this country have gotten tired of your childish and moronic decision making.

    April 15, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. Barbara

    It is mind boggling that the G.O.P has taken to Tea parties in yet another effort to mislead their "constituents"... Most of these people will benefit from Obamas' tax plan..... Yes, many of us are angry about the bail outs. but that is a separate issue...
    I guess it is never too sooon to start the engines of blind, mindless,
    negative campaigning up....
    Wake up dummies..... focus your anger appropriately.. stop being blindly led !

    April 15, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. Kevin in Ohio

    Again, how can a tax-cut be applicable to 95% of working Americans when the percentage of them paying any taxes at all is less than that? Obama's smoke and mirrors are not fooling us one bit. To call welfare a "tax-cut" is deceptive at best.

    April 15, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  16. Paul, Riverside CA

    Looks like the GOP just got tea-bagged by Obama.

    April 15, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. Really

    So 46% of people say they paid too much and it's considered a thumbs up?

    Of course these tax rates were set under Bush and so have no bearing on Obama.

    The prudent question would be: Are you happy with how your tax money is being spent?

    April 15, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. Destiny from Illinois

    Not everybody is going to agree with the President. In fact some will disagree just for disagreement's sake. I think he's doing a great job and I think the taxes are appropriate for the brackets. Still I wonder what's being done for the percentage of the country which fails to pay taxes every year. Perhaps they're the reason our taxes are considered high, because the tax paying citizens are picking up their slack?

    April 15, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. LIP

    48% of taxpayers are happy with what they pay and think it is about right? Sounds like the story about Goldielocks and the three bears. "This is just right; please let me pay this amount". You have got to be kidding. What country did you poll for this ridiculous number.
    This story is beyond comprehension. Check the wastebasket to see if the correct version of this story ended up in file 13.

    April 15, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. Anthony - Morgantown, WV

    Doesn't the poll assume that everyone asked actually has a tax burden? The bottom 50% of the tax bracket either doesn't pay taxes and is actually subsidized by the government, or they do pay taxes, but receive all of them back.

    And as for the Begala piece on the front page. I would submit that we are being taxed without representation. Just because we have representatives and senators in Congress, doesn't mean that they are in fact representing our best interests. Most Americans are outraged at the level of spending being committed. Where's the representation for that?

    April 15, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  21. Mike in NYC

    The Apocalypse could be upon us, and The Great One would still be getting a "thumbs up" even if there was ironclad evidence he was personally responsible.

    What's interesting is that there was a noticeable lack of tax-related advertisements and news stories in the weeks prior to today (April 15th), compared to every other tax season I can remember. Trying not to spoil the "optimistic" mood? If I was a bit more paranoid than I already am, I'd think BO had a lot, and I mean a LOT, of pals in useful places.

    April 15, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. Carl

    Tax code is 66,000 pages long. Enough said....

    April 15, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. J.P.

    "'Most of the movement in the Gallup poll came among people who make less than $75,000 a year,' says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. 'A majority of people in that category say their taxes are not too high, and they are the ones that the Obama administration has been targeting with their tax policy and their message on taxes. Maybe that message is being heard.'"

    Well guess what... the jobs you work, they are created by people making MORE than $75K a year. If you insist on punishing the successful for their success, make sure to wear comfortable shoes when you go stand in the unemployment line.

    Good, bad, right, wrong or indifferent... ALL jobs (outside of the government bureaucracy mess) are created by people with enough capital to invest... ie. those eeeeeeevil rich people. And when you raise taxes, they stop investing... both in the market and in their own businesses, choosing rather to ride out the storm until Obama (and his congressional sycophants) leaves office.

    I've never once been hired by a poor man. Have you?

    Maybe you have. Maybe the poor and destitute are just more entrepreneurial where you live. But, its been my experience that my boss has ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS been more wealthy than me.

    April 15, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. Dan, TX

    Hey, I'm an Obama supporter and I had a tea party to protest the republicans sending my money overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan. Stop spending my money. Obama, you have until June of 2011 to get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan or else I'm voting Libertarian.

    April 15, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. Jimmy Boy

    This is bunk! Maybe it is just because I am talking to people who have jobs and have to pay taxes instead of sitting home with plenty of time to answer polls.

    April 15, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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