Public Opinions on Taxes: 1937 to Today

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With talk of fundamental tax reform in the air, AEI updates the Public Opinion Study on Taxes, which takes a comprehensive look at polling on taxes from 1937 to the present.
  • Forty-eight percent say the federal income taxes they pay are too high. Forty-five percent say they are about right. Only 3 percent say they are too low
  • Late Fall 2010 polls showed the public split on which party could better handle taxes. A new late March-early April 2011 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows the Republicans with a 2-point advantage on the issue.
  • Sixty-eight percent in a new AP-GfK Roper poll said "taxes" are an extremely or very important issue to them, ranking far behind such issues as the economy and gas prices. Forty-seven percent approve of the way President Obama is handling the tax issue, 52 percent disapprove.
  • Although Americans' preference was to not extend the Bush tax cut for those making $250,000 or more, the public supported the December tax cut compromise that extended that tax break.
  • In other areas, public opinion has been stable. Many Americans think the tax system needs major reforms. Polls support a top 25 percent total tax rate. The estate tax is unpopular. In a December 2010 ABC/Washington Post poll, 52 percent supported increasing the exemption on inheritance taxes so that only estates worth $5 million are taxed. Forty-one percent were opposed.
View previous Public Opinion Studies on AEI.org

Karlyn Bowman is a senior fellow, and Andrew Rugg is a research assistant at AEI.

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About the Author

 

Karlyn
Bowman
  • Karlyn Bowman compiles and analyzes American public opinion using available polling data on a variety of subjects, including the economy, taxes, the state of workers in America, environment and global warming, attitudes about homosexuality and gay marriage, NAFTA and free trade, the war in Iraq, and women's attitudes. In addition, Ms. Bowman has studied and spoken about the evolution of American politics because of key demographic and geographic changes. She has often lectured on the role of think tanks in the United States and writes a weekly column for Forbes.com.
  • Phone: 2028625910
    Email: kbowman@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Andrew Rugg
    Phone: 2028625917
    Email: andrew.rugg@aei.org

 

Andrew
Rugg

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