11/29: Tax Cuts OK, But Not for the Wealthy

President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with Congressional leaders tomorrow.  A key item on the agenda — whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts.  Where do voters stand on the issue?  According to this McClatchy-Marist Poll, a majority of registered voters nationally — 51% — think the tax cuts should be extended only for the middle class but not for the top two percent, households earning $250,000 or more.  45% believe the tax breaks should be applied to everyone including the top two percent, and 4% are unsure.



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When McClatchy-Marist last asked this question in September, 49% said the Bush-era tax cuts should be extended for just the middle class while 48% reported they should be extended to everyone.  Three percent were unsure.

“This represents the first post-midterm election test of the nation’s political leadership,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “It comes on the crucial issue of finances and the economy.”

Partisan differences still exist on this question with 68% of Democrats saying the tax breaks should be extended to just the middle class and 62% of Republicans reporting they should be extended to everyone.  Independents divide.  49% of these voters want the cuts applied only to the middle class while 48% think they should be extended for everyone.  McClatchy-Marist found a similar partisan divide in its September poll.

Table: Extension of Bush Era Tax Cuts

Call for Compromise

As the debate between President Barack Obama and Republicans continues over the Bush-era tax cuts, a majority of voters want the two to find common ground.  53% want them to resolve their differences now while 42% think they should extend the current tax policy for two years.  Five percent are unsure.

Democrats are more likely to think the issue should be resolved now with the Democratic Congress than are Republicans.  67% of Democrats think they should resolve their differences now while 57% of Republicans want the current policy extended for two years.  A majority of independents — 54% — align with the Democrats on this question.

Table: Debate Between President and Republicans

More Still View Economic Conditions as Inherited

President Obama continues to avoid blame for the country’s economic conditions.  65% of registered voters currently believe he inherited today’s economic conditions while 28% think they are a result of the president’s own policies.  Eight percent are unsure.  In McClatchy-Marist’s late October survey, 60% viewed the nation’s economic issues as inherited, 30% blamed the president’s policies, and 10% were unsure.

Table: Current Economic Conditions Inherited
Table: Current Economic Conditions Inherited Over Time

Trend graph: Did Obama inherit current economic conditions?

Click on the graph to enlarge the image.

Half Full or Half Empty: Voters Divide About Future of U.S. Economy

When thinking about the future of the U.S. economy, 49% of registered voters think the worst is yet to come while 46% say the worst is behind us.  Four percent are unsure.  In McClatchy-Marist’s late October survey, 45% were pessimistic while 47% said the worst was over.  Eight percent, at the time, were unsure.

Among residents, a majority — 51% — think there is more bad news on the economic horizon while 45% believe better days are ahead.  Five percent are unsure.  In that previous survey, 47% thought the worst is ahead, 45% said the worst is over, and 8% were unsure.

Table: U.S. Economy – Will It Get Worse?

McClatchy-Marist Poll Methodology