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. GET REAL.

    At the "Tea Party" I saw in Sacramento, there were white supremicist flags. Good to know that no one is hurting the Tea Party's image... right?

    I never knew what a teabagger was until I saw a Republican in action.

    April 15, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. Joe

    What an outrageous headline - of course 48% of Americans believe their taxes are about right since more than 40% of Americans DO NOT PAY ANY FEDERAL INCOME TAXES!!!

    Where's the analysis, Paul? Another absolutely dishonest, misleading article by liberals trying to create support for Obama out of nothing, and trying to pretend that the tea party movement is only fringe...

    An honest analysis of this poll would have concluded that nearly 90% of taxpayers think their taxes are too high!!! (46% of respondents believing their taxes are too high, and only about 55% of Americans paying any taxes)

    April 15, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. South Alabama

    48 percent...that is about the same percentage of US citizens that dont pay any taxes so of course they wont complain. its the top 10 percent that of wage earners that pay all the bills. they are the ones who have every right to complain. what a stupid poll.

    April 15, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. Twins Fan

    For those having their tea bagging parties today, go tea bag yourselves. Please note the amount of tax savings you have this year thanks to the new administration. If you're paying an effective tax rate less than last year, your Fox News induced parties absolutely make no sense, as you should have been throwing a party like this many years ago.

    April 15, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. Ray Fisher

    The President has a plan for success while the radicals are protesting regardless of their failures!!! I'll side with the President and the winners of or nation!!!

    April 15, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. mark

    Tax cut you raised the Cigarette tax, you lie

    April 15, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. No Hillary = No Obama

    Obama says alot of things, yet hires a tax cheat to head the Treasury Department – I have yet to see any concrete personal benefit from all his yapping.

    April 15, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. Shirley In California

    Taxes are a part of life. Like it or not. As someone else mentioned-paying them makes life better for all of us.

    Since Obama was elected president there have been a few things mentioned I haven't heard of under any other administration and I have lived through more than 10 presidents.

    1. Texas succeeding from the union
    2. Tea parties
    3. Right wing extremism

    This all equals racism. Nothing else.

    For every step America takes in the right direction they take two steps backward. None of these things would be an issue under any former president. I feel as if I am living in the 1950's. Hopefully, those of us with some degree of intelligence will be enough to stop giving rise to these kinds of people. CNN why do you highlight these people? The more they get attention the more they will keep coming out.

    Why can't we all just get along?

    April 15, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Lynn West Bloomfield, Michigan

    Well of course the President gets a thumbs up! If all those idiots could read they would know that the majority of Americans have gotten a tax cut under this Administration.

    But, if you follow the rich fat cats (no pun intended) like Rush Limbaugh he would have you thinking that 99% of your $40,000 is going to taxes. Wake up people he has you fighting to save HIS taxes not yours!

    April 15, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. sky

    The reason the RIght wingers are getting to be so angry lately, having a misguided tea party.....is not because they think Obama's ideas will fail....but because they think they will work. The right wingers are upset because things are beginning to look up.....there is a glimmer of hope....it is and will work....that is what terrifies them. Their hate and prejudice is stronger than they love of their own country. They do not want a Democrat to make things work....they do not want a black president to turn things around, give us back our standing in the world, fix the tax system, correct the banking situation. What would that do to their bigoted prejudicial ideas if the man who saved America were a black democrat. they are not angry he might fail....they are angry he wont.

    April 15, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Gagging on Teabags

    This FOX NEWS orchestrated "Teabagging" protest is nonsense.

    Just like Joe-the-Imaginary-Plumber, the people protesting are better off under PRESIDENT OBAMA'S. They have nothing to complain about and should be cheering him.

    I'll bet these are the same people that oppose POTUS regardless of what he says or does.

    April 15, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Trudy

    Read this very s l o w l y so you finally grasp the concept.
    The Tax Day Tea Party is not about the amount we are taxed as much as it is about what it is being spent on.
    Perhaps CNN's viewers and CNN.com's readers have no problem paying millions for the "odor of pigs and pig manure in Iowa" or for research to find the "best use of wood".
    Some of the rest of the nation's taxpayers have a problem with those kinds of things.
    There are those of us who would like our Congressmen to actually read bills before they pass them and to stop spending taxpayer dollars like drunken pirates.

    April 15, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  13. Thumbs.up...oops?

    Obama gets thumbs up at every thing according to CNN...and
    not the true feeling Americans have about taxes...spending. Etc...
    So, CNN get real and tell the truth.....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    April 15, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  14. gt

    lord man , l did you hear what the voters are saying ,,,taxes stink too.. along with all the other bad news,,,,

    April 15, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. gl, Pittsburgh

    The tax protestER in my city was nothing but corpation CEO AND THEIR WORKER! Pittsburgh businessman Glen Meakem, co-founder of FreeMarkets Inc., spoke out against President Barack Obama's administration, accusing it of wasteful spending.


    April 15, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Da Professor

    No matter what tax plan Obama comes up with, the
    Republicans will find one thing more to whine about. What a bunch of sorry losers!

    April 15, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. rob

    Thanks CNN for the rush poll to tell us not to listen to those crazy "RIGHT WING EXTREMISTS" who are protesting today. No bias here right.

    Sure, tell us about 95% getting tax cuts and only the "rich" paying their "FAIR SHARE" over and over, so the enough ignorant americans will vote for the Dems again.

    The Dem party and the MSM depend on the ignorance of the American people to get their policies through. Tell the truth about an extra 10 TRILLION of debt over the next ten years (using Obama's own #'s) and the inflation and sky high interest rates that will surely follow and you might get a real reaction. Just like the Tea Parties going on.

    April 15, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. DAVID

    Looks like the "TeaParty" was a dud. HA!

    April 15, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. mark

    Tax cut, it's called next year no tax refund................

    April 15, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. Mel

    Actually, Americans pay far too much for their taxes and they receive far too little from their government for it. The reason is because far too much of those taxes go toward military and war when it should go back into the peoples pockets as health care, social programs, schooling, etc.

    For example, in Canada, if you make under roughly $38000 a year, your tax rate is about 15% for a single person. In the US, for roughly the same amount of income per year, your tax rate is 25%. And thats federal income tax according to both countries government websites for this year. These rates are, of course, before Provincial/State taxes.

    And yet Americans actually see so little of that being spent on things they can actually use.

    In Canada, the money is used for infrastructure, universal health care, public schools, etc. In the United States, those things are barely touched, if at all, while far too much money is spent on the military applications and the people suffer.

    The tax rate is not right, no matter which way you look at it.

    April 15, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  21. Erin

    They must have polled the 40-some percent of Americans who don't pay any taxes, but are able to get a "refundable" tax credit from the stimulus plan! We would all be happy if we got back all the money we paid in taxes, plus an extra $400! Now, if the state of NC would just give me back the refund they owe me (they are "running behind" and might have refunds out by May 30), I might be a little happier right now.

    April 15, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  22. Baze

    I was expecting more money back, but the proof is in the pudding. If Obama's plans continue to show progress, then I can live with what I'm paying in taxes.

    April 15, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  23. Lando

    Tea Party Idiots...

    You are complaining of pre Obama taxes being too high...Wake up
    your party was in command for 8 years.

    April 15, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  24. Chi Town

    Do the poll again and take out the word income.



    Of course half the country is happy... THEY DON'T PAY INCOME TAX

    April 15, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. Oil Worker in Texas

    It is obvious, and frightening that so many people do not pay attention to history. In the mid to late 80's the Savings and Loan industry collapsed, and although the government lent some assistance the industry still went belly up. During that time the unemployment rate went up, lending froze up, consumer and commercial foreclosures skyrocketed. It took from 1989 until 1995 just to get all the foreclosed properties resold. The economy was in a slump and would have gone into a deep recession had we incurred the cost of Operation Desert Storm by ourselves. Every serious economic down turn in this country has been tied to war or collapse of the financial system. Until this country gets out of the consumer debt driven economic model we'll continue to go through this ebb and flow.

    April 15, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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