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President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans begin their drive to cut taxes with lackluster public support, according to the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
The survey shows that just 25 percent call the Trump tax plan a good idea, while 35 percent call it a bad idea. The remaining 40 percent say they have no opinion.
"For what is a major legislative objective of the president and his party, tax reform is in very mushy shape," said Bill McInturff, the Republican pollster who helps produce the NBC/WSJ poll.
McInturff's Democratic counterpart Peter Hart said: "There are a lot of things the Trump administration will have to communicate to get this done."
Among them is the most basic message of all: that the GOP plan will actually cut Americans' taxes. As the debate gets underway, the poll shows, just 14 percent of Americans believe they'll get a tax cut, while 25 percent expect their taxes to go up.
Similarly, just 19 percent of Americans say the tax legislation will significantly improve the economy. At the same time, 35 percent expect it will substantially increase the budget deficit.
The proposal starts with the least favorable public opinion landscape of any major legislative initiative since President George W. Bush's attempt to partially privatize the Social Security system in December 2004. President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package and the Affordable Care Act both debuted with greater public support.
Concluded McInturff, the GOP pollster: "Trump and Republicans have a long way to go."