New Poll Shows Continued Support for Ending Tax Breaks For Wealthy

Two-thirds of voters (67%) say "making the tax system more fair" was a "very" or "fairly important consideration in making [their] voting decisions this year," according to a new poll released today by Hart Research Associates on behalf of Americans for Tax Fairness.

Of this group, 58% supported President Obama while only 40% supported Governor Romney. Democrats benefited by an even larger margin in Senate races: 62% of these voters supported the Democratic candidate compared to just 36% who supported the Republican.

A poll released in September by the Maine People's Resource Center similarly found that a solid majority of Mainers not only favor raising taxes on the wealthy, but believe doing so will improve the economy.

The Maine People's Alliance, which is a partner with Americans for Tax Fairness, a diverse campaign of over 225 national, state, and local organizations united in support of a tax system that works for all Americans, has launched an effort this week to educate the public and to urge Senators Snowe and Collins to consider the question "Who Pays: the richest 2% or the rest of us?" in the current federal debate about deficit reduction and the expiring Bush tax cuts.

"This poll and last week's election results demonstrate that voters are paying attention to this issue and that average people care about making sure that the wealthy pay their fair share to solve the country's problems and get us back on the right economic track," said Gen Lysen, Lead Organizer with the Maine People's Alliance. "It's our job over the coming weeks as the debate heats up in Washington to remind Congress that we will no longer accept an unfair tax system that is rigged in favor of the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the rest of us. Who pays is the central question in this debate."

In fact, after a bruising partisan election the poll showed that by a 17-point margin (56% to 39%), voters still "think the best way for Congress to deal with the Bush tax cuts" is to "end tax cuts for those making over $250,000" compared to those who think Congress should "continue the tax cuts for everyone." Independents (54 percent), moderates (64 percent), and swing voters who considered supporting the other candidate (62 percent) all support ending the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2%.

Letting Bush-era taxes expire for the wealthiest 2% would provide $1.1 trillion of the $1.2 trillion needed in revenue to prevent deep across-the-board cuts to many important programs. Senator's Snowe and Collins will play an important role in the budget talks, but have so far not indicated a willingness to end the unbalanced tax breaks for the wealthiest 2%.

Voters, concerned about the economy, want to reduce the budget deficit by increasing revenue through progressive tax measures, not by cutting Medicare and Medicaid.

• 84 percent of voters approve of increasing taxes on the profits American corporations make overseas, to ensure that they pay the same taxes on those as they do on domestic profits.

• Voters also favor a surtax of five percent on personal income over $5 million (61 percent), ending the preferential tax treatment of the sale of stocks and other assets (61 percent), and increasing the estate tax on estates of more than $7 million (58 percent).

• In contrast, nearly two-thirds of voters (64 percent) disapprove of raising the age for Medicare eligibility from 65 percent to 67 percent, and 78 percent oppose cuts to Medicaid benefits. 

The complete polling materials can be found at:

Hart conducted the telephone survey of 1,009 voters nationwide (including 201 cell-phone only voters) on Nov. 7 - 9, 2012 to assess the role of the tax issue in voters' electoral decision-making, attitudes on the issue of ending the Bush tax cuts for upper-income taxpayers, and support for various deficit reduction proposals.