A new survey suggests that Americans would prefer to take the Republican path to avoiding the fiscal cliff over the approach favored by President Obama.
According to a Bloomberg poll of 1,000 adults conducted December 7-10, Americans by a solid 52-39 percent majority say it is better to “limit tax breaks” than “raise the tax rate” for the “wealthy.”
The White House has insisted that raising the tax rate on those who earn more than $250,000 per year must be part of a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, while Republicans are demanding that tax increases be confined to limiting tax breaks, such as income tax deductions.
Respondents did support repealing the tax cuts for households making more than $250,000 by 52-42 percent and agree that Obama has a mandate to do it. But they clearly prefer the GOP approach of limiting deductions.
Americans also agree that it is proper for Obama to insist on tax rate increases as part of a deal to cut entitlement programs. And when presented with specific options for curbing deductions, voters balk. Only 38 percent favor limiting the amount that can be deducted for home mortgages, and just 41 percent would limit deductions for charity.
But they also oppose Obama’s position that investment earnings should be taxed on a par with income. Only 36 percent say it’s “fairer for investment income to be taxed at the same rate as income from paychecks,” compared to 52 percent who say, “The lower rate encourages investment and so creates jobs.”
The poll appears weighted toward Democrats. Forty three percent said they either are Democrats or “lean Democrat,” while 34 percent are Republicans or lean Republican.