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. Amy

    Are the Republicans paying attention to this news story?

    Oh, that's right, they're holding tea parties today. Tea parties for the 11%.

    If the Republicans don't start doing something other than serve tea, they'll be lucky if they get 11% of voters to support them next election cycle.

    No more gimmicks. No more parties. RNC get back to work!

    April 15, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  2. Norma Sapp

    I can't believe what I'm reading - 300 organized "tea parties" give me a break. Where were these idiots 12 years ago when we were spending money faster than the mint could print it? Now, that we have something that's not totally military they are crying. You know, tell these tea parting fools to shut the ...... up and deal with it, like we dealt with higher taxes for military spending. The economy needs a jump start and they are complaining. They are lucky they can afford to pay taxes, most americans are without jobs.

    April 15, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. Obama Victim

    this guy is one the best liars I have ever seen

    April 15, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. Dave



    Reagan and Republicans were the problem, Obama the Democrats and working people are the solution. Tax the people who got the Reagan Tax Cuts. It's not a Red vs. Blue thing, if government fails we all Fail. think about that.

    April 15, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. debinaz

    who does your polling? we the people are angry with the obama taxes..this doubling of debt is beyond reproach and to say that americans are in love with this plan is just plain wrong...the only americans that would approve would be americans that want something for nothing..the folks that feel a sense of entitlement... i have worked for everything i have and just maybe some of these folks should do the same..

    April 15, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. big papa

    Some grass roots movement amongst the tax dodgers...

    ...at least we could take pictures of those fools...

    ...for future identification purposes...

    April 15, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. 29% of Americans are TRAITORS for wanting America to FAIL and 71% of Americans to SUFFER!

    Apparanlty, all the traitorous neo-cons were out buying tea bags and missed this poll.

    April 15, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. gwen

    Exactly how do the republicans propose we get out of our deficit without paying taxes?? Need they forget that they (the wealthy, not the lower income who believe republicans are out in their best interest) were paying 10 percent more taxes under their beloved Ronald Reagan?? I say we get back to those taxes for a real bail out of the economy!!!! Wake up people, the deficit isn't going to take care of itself!!!

    April 15, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. Hey BIG Spender

    Perhaps they should do another poll once Obama has raised the taxes to account for all his BIG spending?

    April 15, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. DJR

    Thats dumb! The system is the same as it was two four six years ago. Obama gets no credit. Quit the rah rah, were's the beef! Obama needs to send his party a note to please pay their taxes that they have failed to pay in recent years so that the country can pay it's debt to AIG.

    April 15, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. Alex

    Since I'm not super-rich, I'll get a tax cut under Obama. So I like him. That's all there is to it.

    April 15, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. geraldine

    I don't know how 95% of Americans can get tax cuts – fewer than 50% actually pay any income taxes to begin with.

    Even after the statement is clarified to include 95% of TAXPAYERS, i wish someone would point out that only about 15% of the Treasury's tax revenue comes from that group. That's right (tsk tsk) – it's the top 5% of income earners and corporations that fund this country. And, they're about to fund even more of it. Sooner or later that group may get fed up with it all and take their incomes and businesses elsewhere???

    April 15, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. Mike in MN

    Those thumbs up will turn to thumbs down in the not too distant future. Apparently most Americans who are happy with the Obama tax cut don't realize it is only short term. The only way to support the Obama spending spree and prevent the resutlitng deficits from bankrupting America will be to raise taxes on everyone, including the middle class. Don't belive me, the budget just passed assumes the Obama middle tax cut will only be in place for two years, don't take my word, research it. Why, becasue they needed to find ways to lessen the massive Obama deficits. But even getting rid of the Obama tax cut is not enough, the deficits are still massive and dwarf those of Bush. Enjoy the small Obama tax cut while you can, it will be wipped out in a couple of years with a very large Obama middle class tax increase.

    April 15, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. jrzshor

    Americans give Obama thumbs up on taxes (48%)


    Americans give Obama thumbs down on taxes (46%)


    Americans give Obama thumbs sideways on taxes (48% v 46%)

    April 15, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. U.S. Grant

    40% of Americans DON'T PAY FEDERAL INCOME TAX. So, no wonder they're happy with their "tax burden" – the burden is on someone else.

    April 15, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. demwit

    Errrr...., what about the other 52%??

    April 15, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  17. Obama Victim

    Glad to see CNN running to Obama's defense!

    Article states, "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."

    Perhaps because 100% of Obama supporters wouldn't dare disagree with their messiah on ANY issue.

    Yesssssss weeeee cannnnnnn... yesssss weeee cannnnnn....

    April 15, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  18. Rob Johnson

    Good evidence that, while I don't doubt the sincerity of those who are participating in the Tea Party events, they don't represent a majority of the American people.

    Many conservatives will be incredulous at these poll numbers, largely because they tend to live in a bubble where the only people they encounter in daily life are other conservatives like them.

    April 15, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. Mike

    They probably polled obamas cabinet, you know the ones who do not pay their taxes. The taxes must go way up next year and each year thereafter to pay for the massive amount of money the democrats are spending. The wealthiest people in the US could not pay off this debt without help from the rest of the country.

    April 15, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. angrysob in VA

    Taxcut for 95% of working class! Yeah – It amounts to a couple Happy Meals a week. That is if you have a job! This clown is a joke. Might as well tell us to eat cake.

    April 15, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. Kevin B

    Unlike the misguided and willfully uninformed "tea baggers" thank god the majority of americans will not do the heavy lifting in the tax code for the rich and the military industrial complex anymore.

    We do understand that we have to sacrifice to overcome the economic debacle and willful neglect of the country that was left by GOP over the past eight years.

    BTW, I noted a jump in me and the wifes checks and it is appreciated. Go Go Mr Obama, we will have your back in '10 and '12.

    April 15, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  22. Jeremy

    Of course 48% feel that way. They are the 48% that pay little or no income tax!

    April 15, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. RealityKing

    A recent Tax Foundation survey found 56% of Americans think the amount of federal income tax they pay is too high. Isn;t it amazing how CNN's numbers so nicely represent polling director Keating Holland's progressive ideals...

    April 15, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. The Broker.

    He must have you all: under his!

    April 15, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. Ryan

    "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."

    LOL! That is about the same percentage that don't pay any income taxes at all (~40%). Of course these people would think the amount of federal income taxes they pay is "about right" - because they amount they pay is "about zero". Furthermore, many people receive negative taxes (first under the Earned Income Tax Credit and now set to go up under the Make Work Pay legislation).

    April 15, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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