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65% back higher taxes on rich

Even 40% of Republicans like Obama's proposal to make the rich pay more, according to a new poll. But voters still would rather cut spending than hike taxes.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 23, 2012 6:44PM

This post is by Alan Fram of The Associated Press.


Most people like President Barack Obama's proposal to make millionaires pay a significant share of their incomes in taxes. Yet they'd still rather cut spending than boost taxes to balance the federal budget, an Associated Press-GfK poll shows, giving Republicans an edge over Democrats in their core ideological dispute over the nation's fiscal ills.


The survey suggests that while Obama's election-year tax plan targeting people making at least $1 million a year has won broad support, it has done little to shift people's basic views in the long-running partisan war over how best to tame budget deficits that lately have exceeded $1 trillion annually.


"Everybody should be called to sacrifice. They should be in the pot with the rest of us," Mike Whittles, 62, a Republican and retired police officer from Point Pleasant, N.J., said of his support for Obama's tax proposal for the wealthy. But Whittles said he still prefers cutting government spending over raising taxes because of federal waste and what he calls "too many rules, too many regulations."


Sixty-five percent of the people in the AP-GfK poll favor Obama's plan to require people making $1 million or more pay taxes equal to at least 30% of their income. Just 26% opposed Obama's idea. (Post continues after video.)

Yet by 56% to 31%, more embraced cuts in government services than higher taxes as the best medicine for the budget, according to the survey, which was conducted Feb. 16 to 20. That response has changed only modestly since it was first asked in the AP-GfK poll last March. The question on Obama's tax on the rich was not asked previously.


The poll showed that overall, more people have a positive view of Democrats than of Republicans, a ray of hope for Obama and his fellow Democrats with the approach of November's presidential and congressional elections. Fifty-four percent in the poll gave Democrats favorable ratings compared with 46% for Republicans, similar to results in January 2011, at the start of the newly elected Congress in which Republicans have run the House and Democrats wield a slender Senate majority.


Though embraced by congressional Democrats, Obama's proposal on taxing millionaires more has virtually no chance of passage by Congress in the political heat of this year's campaigns. But it stands as a rallying cry for Democrats -- about 9 in 10 of whom supported the plan in the poll -- and it contrasts with proposals by the remaining major GOP presidential candidates, who would lower the current 35% top income tax rate.


The 'Buffett rule'


Obama has spent months touting his plan, nicknamed the Buffett rule after Warren Buffett, the billionaire who has complained that the rich don't pay enough taxes and that his own tax rate has been lower than his secretary's. The wealthy Mitt Romney, a leading GOP presidential contender, has released tax returns showing he paid a rate of around 15% the past two years.


Illustrating the wide acceptance for Obama's tax proposal for the rich, the poll showed it was supported by nearly two-thirds of independents and 40% of Republicans. It also won backing from 6 in 10 whites and half of conservatives, two groups that traditionally are more likely to support the GOP, as well as by 6 in 10 people earning at least $100,000 a year.


Not everyone supports the idea.


"If their money goes to taxes, how will they afford more employees, better equipment, better vehicles?" said Republican Cheryl Mickler, 31, of Hope Mills, N.C.


As for the differing strategies for deficit reduction, more than three-fourths of Republicans and the largest share of independents preferred cutting government services. Democrats leaned toward tax increases, but by a narrower 49% to 38%.

Republicans have an 8 percentage point advantage over Democrats in the public's trust for handling budget deficits, essentially unchanged in recent months.


The GOP has the same edge for protecting the country, an issue it usually dominates. Peoples' trust in the two parties is about even for handling the economy, taxes and job creation.


Congress gets low marks


Congress continues to receive dismal reviews from voters. Just 19% approve of the job Congress is doing, virtually unchanged from last December. That's not far from Congress' worst-ever approval rate in the brief history of the AP-GfK poll of 12% last August, shortly after Obama and lawmakers resolved a stubborn standoff over raising the debt limit.


"We put them there to do their job and they're not doing their job," said Gary Witalison, 54, a residential painter in Fish Creek, Wis. "They're not working things out. Work together."


The AP-GfK poll was conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications and involved cell phone and landline interviews with 1,000 randomly chosen adults. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Feb 24, 2012 7:39PM
News flash:  65% of voters support someone else paying the taxes instead of themselves.
How useless can reporting get?

Feb 24, 2012 12:39PM
This admin's motto has been "tax the rich", again , again, and again, over, over, and over. Like a little kid, "I want some candy", again again, and again, over, over, and over; so, you stick a candy bar in his mouth and shut him up.
65% back higher taxes on the rich. Thats about the same amount of folks that get back all the taxes they pay in and more throughout the year. Hummmmmm....
Feb 27, 2012 10:56AM

How about higher taxes for everyone?  Let's quit the class warfare rhetoric.  The demagogues should be ashamed!


How about some income taxes for the bottom half?  Where's their sacrifice?  Everyone should have some skin in the game.  When I start seeing people write that their own taxes should be raised, then they'll get my attention and respect.

Feb 27, 2012 9:58AM
What a surprise.  A poll that includes the 50 percent that virtually pay no taxes and the 15 to 20 percent working in the government.  I guess if you ask the questions should I pay more taxes the answer would be NO. If the top 5% pay more than 50 percent of the taxes the next group that gets taxed would logically be the bottom 95%.  They government has not sucked them dry yet.  Check out what happened in England since they raise the taxes on the top wage earners.  Revenue went down.  Just another stupid article.  This is not a taxing problem but rather a spending problem.
Feb 27, 2012 12:10PM

Let's get clear about the so called "Buffett Rule". Are you referring to what he (Buffett) says or what he does? At the present time, according to the IRS, Warren Buffett owes the US Government over One Billion Dollars in back taxes. He is currently in a legal battle with IRS over the back taxes. Time to ask, Why is Warren Buffett supporting President Obama? Just maybe his support is to get President Obama's "tax cheat" Sec. of Treasury to call the IRS off the case. To get a better report of this go to Google and type in "Buffett owes tax".


Feb 24, 2012 2:31PM
The Mick, I hear you man. Imagine watching one of those ancient times movies and their is someone in the pit about to get stoned. One person that does not know anything about what is going on throws a stone, and everyone else joins in. This is how these people talk. Government spending and the bureaucracy involved is there for a reason, so that people don't outright steal your money.
The other thing, the rich take on risks what most others don't. If you rent, guess what, someone is taking a risk on a home and providing you with an alternative for a place to live. When the market tanks, you leave and they are left holding the bag. Then what?
Before you speak, know the facts and own up to your end of the deal. Don't buy stuff you don't need and stop using credit for everything.
Feb 27, 2012 2:03PM
How many times must this be said to drill into the story writers heads---There is a B-I-G difference between a millionaire and someone who earns 1 million plus annually(salary, bonus, commissions, professional, bus. owner etc.)   I know several people that have saved and invested well over the course of thirty or forty years and are now "millionaires"---worth over a million dollars in net assets(investments, real estate, cash etc.)  I'm close myself & have never earned near  a million dollars in a single year--- in fact not many times over the years over a hundred thousand.  All this type of conversation does is scare the people that have scrimped and saved to get where they are. If a tax surcharge or a percentage is proposed for individuals earning over a million dollars/yr, please state it as such---not an add'l tax on  "millionaires" or "the rich"---it's way dumbed down.
Feb 27, 2012 10:40AM
funny...i have a job..if i spend more than i make i go in debt, i can't go to my boss and say i need more money because i want to spend dont work that way, either i live within my means or people start repossesing what i borrowed money to buy. my brother and his wife make good money..this year they have to pay several thousand in taxes owed..the preparer that done their taxes told them of someone that only made about 25k and got back almost 10k in refunds, and complained and feel they hould have gotten more back, they got back over 3 times what they paid in. this is why the rich have to pay more is so our president can give it to people like that....
Feb 27, 2012 1:07AM
Didn't they try the exact same thing with the Alternative Minimum Tax? Look how that turned out. This "Buffett Rule" will suffer the same fate unless indexed for inflation. Also, they should abolish the AMT at the same time.
Feb 27, 2012 12:49PM
Only lazy bums, Dems or Repubs, think the rich don't pay enough. The richest people in the country provide people with jobs that pay their salaries and contribute to their 401k and medical insurance. The top 1% pay 40% of all taxes, and the the top 10% pay over 70% of the taxes, while almost 50% of the people in this country don't pay anything or get money back from the government.  With only 160,000,000 people working and about 140,000,000 not working, that would mean that only 80,000,000 people are paying the taxes for all 310,000,000 people. Now there is the problem, not the rich not paying enough, it's the other POSs not paying a dime. WTFU people and get these liberal, lefty, lazy bastards out before they destroy the country. Flat tax is the only thing that will save this country. TEA PARTY 2012
Feb 27, 2012 10:58AM

There used to be a comedian who talked about his dog begging for food.  He claimed the dog said, "Can I have some? ...  Can I have some? ...  Can I have some? ..."


So the guy gave his dog a scrap and then the dog said, "Can I have some more?"


Sounds like the government wanting tax money.

Mar 5, 2012 10:17PM
What state gains the largest percentage of revenue from income taxes, is top 3 in foreclosures, has massive immigration issues, Obamas biggest 2008 supporter, and is flat broke?????  Good ole' California.  CA proves you can't use Obama principles to thrive.  CA is an utter joke and is a micro economic example of where the U.S. is heading. 
Feb 24, 2012 10:46AM
People say the government should spend less, but the vast majority of those people could not break down for you how the money is spent.  It's like sitting in your house and not looking outside or at any weather info and saying, yeah, "I think we should go outside in shorts and short sleeved shirts today."  That sounds like more fun, but may not be wise.

When Clinton left office, $12 out of every $100 collected by Washington went right back out as interest payments on the debt, the other $88 being used to run the government.

Now, over $20 of every $100 goes for debt, leaving less than $80 to run the government.  We've ALREADY cut 10% of the money used to run the government even without cutting "spending."

If we continues to cut spending, we're going to get less and less a bang for the buck.

But most Americans only see the short term solution and like the monkey who gets caught with his hand in the jar because he's too greedy to let go of the piece of fruit he's holding, their too greedy to see that they're endangering themselves.

Feb 27, 2012 8:15PM
I like last nite how it was said.  This movie made 7.4 billion and only paid 14% tax.  A nice slap in the face of the little 99% that help make that 7.4 billion for the producer.
Feb 27, 2012 1:59PM

  Many people who post here are misinformed. Rich people for the most part don't hire more people because their tax rates are lower. Both Romney and Buffet pay around 18% because the majority of their money is invested in stocks and bonds and therefore pay a special rich man tax rate of 15%. As someone who pays nearly double what either does and makes a very very tiny sliver of what they do i find it offensive.


  To those who indicate the problem is the poor not paying enough you're so frigin stupid it's not worth the response.

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