Most* Americans want to soak the rich

Robert Waldmann

Polling results are absolutely clear. Now and for the decades a clear majority of US residents support taking from the rich and … well it doesn’t much matter what. Republicans often argue that this or that would be “class warfare” leading to the guess that they might have some reason to believe that class warfare is unpopular. There is no evidence to support that view.

The data which prove my claims come after the jump.

First look at polling report on taxes.

http://www.pollingreport.com/budget.htm

Search for taxes and look at people for and or against soaking the rich. Only one listed poll — the Gallup poll — has asked directly about this.

Gallup Poll. April 6-9, 2009. N=1,027 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

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“As I read off some different groups, please tell me if you think they are paying their fair share in federal taxes, paying too much, or paying too little. How about [see below]?”

Fair Share Too Much Too Little Unsure
% % % %

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“Upper-income people”
4/6-9/09 23 13 60 3
4/6-9/08 24 9 63 4
4/2-5/07 21 9 66 4
4/10-13/06 21 8 67 4
4/4-7/05 22 7 68 3
4/5-8/04 24 9 63 4
4/03 24 10 63 3
4/99 19 10 66 5
4/96 19 9 68 4
4/94 20 10 68 2
3/93 16 5 77 2
3/92 16 4 77 3

“Corporations”
4/6-9/09 18 8 67 6
4/6-9/08 15 6 73 6
4/2-5/07 19 5 71 5
4/10-13/06 18 5 70 7
4/4-7/05 21 4 69 6
4/5-8/04 19 5 69 7

OK now soaking the rich to pay for health care reform. Here there is lots of polling

http://www.pollingreport.com/health.htm
and search for “tax”. I’m trying to get everything relevant.

NBC News Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Bill McInturff (R). Aug. 15-17, 2009. N=805 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.5 (for all adults).

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“Now I am going to tell you more about the health care plan that President Obama supports and please tell me whether you would favor or oppose it. The plan requires that health insurance companies cover people with pre-existing medical conditions. It also requires all but the smallest employers to provide health coverage for their employees, or pay a percentage of their payroll to help fund coverage for the uninsured. Families and individuals with lower- and middle-incomes would receive tax credits to help them afford insurance coverage. Some of the funding for this plan would come from raising taxes on wealthier Americans. Do you favor or oppose this plan?”
.
Favor Oppose Depends
(vol.) Unsure
% % % %

8/15-17/09
53 43 2 2

7/24-27/09
56 38 3 3

Quinnipiac University Poll. July 27-Aug. 3, 2009. N=2,409 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 2 (for all adults).

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“To extend health insurance coverage to most Americans over the next decade, would you support or oppose imposing an extra tax on individuals who earn more than 350,000 dollars and couples who earn more than 1 million dollars a year?”

.

Support Oppose Unsure
% % %

7/27 – 8/3/09
61 36 2

Time Poll conducted by Abt SRBI. July 27-28, 2009. N=1,002 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (for all adults).

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“Raises income taxes on people earning more than 280 thousand dollars a year to help pay for providing health care to most Americans, even those who cannot afford it now.”

7/27-28/09
57 40 4

CBS News/New York Times Poll. July 24-28, 2009. N=1,050 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (for all adults).

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“In order to help pay for health care reform, would you favor or oppose increasing taxes on Americans with high incomes?”

Favor Oppose Unsure
% % %
7/24-28/09 65 32 3

NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Bill McInturff (R). July 24-27, 2009. N=1,011 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.1 (for all adults).

.

“Let me read you a couple of proposals made by President Obama. For each one, please tell me whether you approve or disapprove of this action. … Using government funds to expand health insurance coverage, and raising taxes on wealthier Americans to pay for it.”

.
Approve Disapprove Unsure
% % %

7/24-27/09
50 44 6

4/23-26/09
56 37 7

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“Experts currently estimate that this proposed health care plan will cost one trillion dollars over the next decade. I am going to read you some proposals for how the plan could be funded. After I read each statement, please tell me whether that proposal is acceptable or not acceptable. . . .” Half sample (Form B), MoE ± 4.4

.
Acceptable Not
Acceptable Unsure
% % %

.

“Raise taxes for families with incomes more than one million dollars per year.”

7/24-27/09
68 29 3

“Raise taxes for families with incomes more than three hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year.”

7/24-27/09
56 39 5

Pew Research Center poll. July 22-26, 2009. N=1,506 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

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“And thinking about some ways to pay for changes to the health care system: Would you favor or oppose [see below]?”

.
Favor Oppose Unsure
% % %

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“Raising taxes on families with incomes of more than $350,000 and individuals earning more than $280,000″

7/22-26/09
63 32 5

off topic but very relevant to attitudes towards class war. Most Americans can chose to fight the classes above them or the classes below them (Bill Gates and the homeless have fewer options). Polls consistently always and invariably show strong support for soaking the rich. How about the poor ? Do most Americans think we are already giving to poor too much ? Look at this

Kaiser Family Foundation Kaiser Health Tracking Poll. Aug. 4-11, 2009. N=1,203 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (for all adults).

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“Now I’m going to read you some different ways to increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance. As I read each one, please tell me whether you would favor it or oppose it. Here’s the (first/next) one: [See below.] Do you favor or oppose this?”

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“Expanding state government programs for low-income people, such as Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program” N=603 (Form B)

8/4-11/09
80 17 4

7/7-14/09
74 23 3

6/1-8/09
75 22 3

4/2-8/09
77 20 2

I don’t see how the people of the USA could make it clearer. Concerning health care they want to take more from the rich and give more to the poor.

Now reforming social security. Generally, there was overwhelming opposition to any change in social security. There was one exception to this rule. A majority wanted to raise or eliminate the FICA ceiling. Once again (as always) most Americans wanted to soak the rich.

CBS News/New York Times Poll. June 10-15, 2005. N=1,111 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (for all adults).

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“Currently, people pay Social Security taxes only on the first $90,000 of their annual income. If it were necessary to keep the Social Security program paying benefits as it does now, would you favor or oppose increasing the amount of income that is subject to Social Security taxes?”

.

Favor Oppose Unsure
% % %
6/10-15/05 63 30 7

CBS News Poll. May 20-24, 2005. N=1,150 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (for all adults).

.

“How should the Social Security system pay its benefits? Should it pay out money to retired people based only on how much they contributed, or should it take some of the contributions of better-off people and give them to poorer people?”

.

Contribu-
tions Only Give More
To Poor Both (vol.) Unsure
% % % %
5/20-24/05 46 43 3 8
2/24-28/05 47 43 2 8

.

“Currently, people pay Social Security taxes only on the first $90,000 of their income. Would you favor or oppose raising the amount of income that is subject to Social Security taxes?”

.

Favor Oppose Unsure
% % %
5/20-24/05 62 31 7
2/24-28/05 61 31 8

.

“Would you favor or oppose limiting the rate of growth of future Social Security benefits for people with incomes of $100,000 or more?”

.

Favor Oppose Unsure
% % %
5/20-24/05 50 40 10

.

“Would you favor or oppose limiting the rate of growth of future Social Security benefits for people with incomes of $50,000 to $100,000?”

.

Favor Oppose Unsure
% % %
5/20-24/05 35 55 10

NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Bill McInturff (R). May 12-16, 2005. N=1,005 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.1 (for all adults).

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“If there is a time in the future when Social Security benefits must be reduced, which approach would you favor? Approach A: Reduce benefits by an equal percentage across the board for all workers to maintain Social Security as a program where your benefits depend on what you paid in the system. Approach B: Reduce benefits by a higher percentage for workers earning more than twenty-five thousand dollars, while making no change for workers who make less than this so that those with the most need receive the most benefits.”

.
Approach A Approach B Unsure
% % %
5/12-16/05 40 50 10

“I’m going to mention changes some leaders have proposed for Social Security. Please tell me if you support or oppose each one. . . .”

.
Support Oppose Unsure
% % %

.

“Increasing the Social Security tax rate”

ABC News/Washington Post Poll. March 10-13, 2005. N=1,001 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (for all adults). Fieldwork by TNS.

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“Collecting Social Security taxes on all the money a worker earns, rather than taxing only up to the first $90,000 of annual income”

3/10-13/05
56 40 4

As always a majority of US residents support raising taxes on the rich.

*terminology: when I write “most” I mean more than half. The word is often used equivocally to mean more than half when one must prove the claim and then to mean “approximately all” when one draws implications.

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