Policy Documents

Polls on Attitudes on Taxes, 2013

Karlyn Bowman, Andrew Rugg, Jennifer K. Marsico –
April 8, 2013

With Tax Day around the corner, AEI’s polling analysis team has updated its work on public attitudes toward taxes. Below are some of the highlights from the new AEI Public Opinion Study.

•    Half of Americans believe the amount they pay in federal income tax is “just right,” in the latest question from CNN/Opinion Research Corporation. In 75 years of polling, only a handful of Americans say they pay too little.
•    Taxes consistently rank low when people are asked about the most important problem facing the country. Five percent rated them that way in the latest Gallup poll. Concerns about the federal deficit have been rising.
•    Democrats now hold a six-point edge over Republicans as the party doing a better job on taxes in the latest poll from Pew. Other polls show a more even split.
•    In 2012, Mitt Romney won voters who selected taxes as the most important issue in the election by more than 30 points. Voters who prioritize taxes typically vote Republican.
•    Throughout Barack Obama’s presidency, his approval ratings on handling taxes have lagged slightly behind his overall job approval. The two percentages have moved in tandem.
•    A December 2012 CBS/New York Times poll found that 28 percent wanted to continue the George W. Bush tax cuts for everyone, 52 percent wanted to continue them for those earning less than $250,000, and 13 percent wanted them to expire for all. While Americans are in favor of raising taxes on the rich, one-quarter feel that lower-income people pay too little in taxes.
•     A January 2013 Reason-Rupe survey reveals that Americans think that 47 cents of every dollar paid in taxes is wasted. This new poll is in line with other, older questions.

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