AP-GFK Poll: America agrees with President Obama on taxes

AP-GFK Poll: America agrees with President Obama on taxes

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Taxes is one things Americans are agreeing on. The tax code rewards the rich. And the Republican senate and Obama need to get this one done right.

President Barack Obama, framed between a computer keyboard and monitor, works at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, Feb. 20, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama, framed between a computer keyboard and monitor, works at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, Feb. 20, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

WASHINGTON, February 21, 2015 – A recent Associated Press-GfK poll has revealed something most American’s can not only agree on, but that they can support the President on: President Barack Obama’s proposal to raise investment taxes on high-income families.

The poll helps to propel Obama’s new push to raise taxes on the rich and use some of the revenue to lower taxes on the middle class, a move the president has termed “middle-class economics.”

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According to the poll, 68 percent of those questioned said wealthy households pay too little in federal taxes, while the middle-class pays too much in federal taxes.

“I think the more you make the more taxes you should pay,” said Bob Montgomery of Martinsville, Virginia. “I can’t see where a man makes $50,000 a year pays as much taxes as somebody that makes $300,000 a year.”

Montgomery is a retiree who worked for an auto dealership for 40 years.

However, the tax proposals in Obama’s 2016 budget are unlikely to pass the Republican controlled senate, which wants to see cuts in spending along with tax increases.

The survey shows that 56 percent favored an increase capital gains taxes on households making more than $500,000. At 71 percent, Democrats were the most likely to support raising taxes on capital gains. While 54 percent of Republicans and independents also support increased capital gains taxes on the most wealthy.

When it comes to other tax plans, responses do not favor the President as much.

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Capital gains taxes on inherited assets are favored by 27 percent opposed by 36 percent.

Of those polled, 19 percent support the President’s aborted plan to scale back the tax benefits of popular college savings plans, or 529 accounts. The proposal was eventually withdrawn by Obama due to opposition from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

Obama’s proposal to levy a new tax on banks was supported by 47 percent of those surveyed. Only 13 percent opposed it, while 36 percent were undecided.

The poll found that 56 percent think their federal taxes are too high. However, a slight majority said that if enacted, higher taxes should only be used to pay down the national debt, not cut other taxes or fund other government programs.

Overall, 19 percent of respondents said low-income families pay too little in federal taxes with 10 percent of Democrats responding that low-income families pay too little, while 33 percent of Republican respondents to the poll said they don’t pay enough.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reports that the poorest 20 percent of households paid less than 1 percent of all federal taxes in 2011, the latest year for data.

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The top 10 percent paid more than half of all federal taxes.

Raising taxes on the wealthy has been part of Obama’s agenda since his 2008 Presidential campaign and he has had some success.

In January 2013, as part of tax cuts package first enacted under George W. Bush, Obama persuaded Republicans in Congress to let income tax rates go up for families making more than $450,000 a year, .

The AP-GfK Poll of 1,045 adults was conducted online Jan. 29-Feb. 2, using a sample drawn from GfK’s probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Respondents were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods, and later interviewed online.
People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn’t otherwise have access to the Internet were provided access at no cost to them.

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