U.S. News

Survey: Wealthiest Americans Say 'Raise Our Taxes'

Robert Melstein, Development Producer

Nearly half of adults with household income of at least $250,000 agreed in a poll that taxes should be higher for the richest Americans.

The results in the Ipsos Mendelsohn Affluents Barometer come amid the debate about whether the so-called Bush tax cuts for the wealthy should go away. They are set to expire at the end of 2012.

The barometer studies the lifestyles, spending patterns and media habits of today’s affluent Americans. Ipsos defines “affluent” adults as those who have household income of $100,000 or more.

Here’s the question that Ipsos asked in its November survey: “To what extent do you agree or disagree with recent proposals to increase federal income taxes on higher-income Americans, such as millionaires or those making more than $250,000 in annual household income?” Forty-five percent of the $250K earners agreed. And those who agreed were nearly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.

Some other tax-related, CNBC exclusive nuggets from the survey:

  • 62% agree with Republican calls for a tax overhaul.
  • 52% are O.K. with instituting a flat personal income tax.

Regarding the overall economy, the Affluents Barometer paints a bearish picture:

  • Only 36% of those surveyed are optimistic about the U.S. economy.
  • 47% think the U.S. recession will end in 2013 or later; only 14% think the recession will end in 2012. Five percent say it’s already over, and 17% actually think it won’t end at all!
  • 68% would be more optimistic if unemployment rates drop.

Investors are still relatively bullish on gold. Fifty percent of respondents think gold is still a strong investment – but that’s on a downward trend. Overall, about one-third think stocks/equities are a good investment; 46% of those with $1 million or more in investable assets think it’s a good time to jump into the market. Tech is the No. 1 stock sector where investors say they are parking their money.

One thing the respondents don’t seem to be changing: their Christmas shopping habits. Only 8% say it’s inappropriate to buy luxury items this season – because of the Occupy Wall Street protests and the debate surrounding the “99% vs. 1%.”

(Methodology:  The November 2011 Affluent Barometer was conducted online from Nov. 18-29, interviewing 1,028 respondents. National sample of adults 18+ with household income of at least $100,000. Weighted and balanced to U.S. Census data)