Politics

On Tax Overhaul, Public Support Hard to Find

Economist/YouGov survey shows opinions all over the place

From left, Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., participate in the Congressional GOP media availability to unveil the GOP tax reform plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Despite the enthusiasm for overhauling the tax code among Republican congressional leaders and President Donald Trump, the public is hardly sold on the idea that the effort is a priority or on its possible benefits. 

Nearly one-third of respondents to a new Economist/YouGov survey strongly opposed the GOP tax framework released last week, and nearly the same number believed their own taxes would stay the same under the plan.

Twenty-six percent were “not sure” what to make of the GOP’s efforts to rewrite the tax code. Only 15 percent said they supported it strongly. 

Twenty-five percent said they believed their taxes would increase under the plan with the same percentage saying they did not know how it would affect them.

Survey respondents were also divided on whether the taxes of low-income people would increase, decrease or stay the same under the proposal, which is still in development. 

Twenty-nine percent believed taxes would increase for the poor but 20 percent believed it would decrease under the plan. Twenty-five percent said they would stay the same and a similar percentage were unsure.

Nearly half of those surveyed said they believed rich people’s taxes would decrease while only 15 percent said it would increase for the wealthy.

When it came to aspects of the plan, which House and Senate tax writers are still working on, none of the proposals under discussion received majority support in the Economist/YouGov survey. 

Nearly 45 percent of respondents favored doubling the standard deduction; 41 percent percent backed eliminating the estate tax.

Further down the line of support, 35 percent favored reducing the number of individual tax brackets from seven to three, and 34 percent favored lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. 

Only 22 percent favored eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes. 

When it comes to Trump’s own taxes, 39 percent believed the president’s taxes would decrease under his own proposal, with more than 30 percent believing they would either stay the same or increase.

 

The Republican-led tax overhaul framework released last week suggests a tax rate of 20 percent for corporations, 25 percent for small businesses and 35 percent for high-income individuals.

The Economist/YouGov survey polled 1,500 adults in web-based interviews conducted Oct. 1-3. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. CQ Roll Call is owned by The Economist Group.

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