Most voters disapprove of GOP tax proposals, think they help the wealthy most, poll says

Key Points
  • Most Americans disapprove of the Republican tax plan, a Quinnipiac poll says.
  • Sixty-one percent of respondents say the proposals would mainly help the wealthy.
  • Republicans say their proposals will reduce the tax burden on middle-income Americans while boosting job creation and wage growth.
Sen. Ron Johnson opposes Republican tax bill
Sen. Ron Johnson opposes Republican tax bill

The Republican tax plan appears to have a public opinion problem.

Most American voters — 52 percent — disapprove of the GOP proposals to overhaul the tax system, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. Only 25 percent of respondents approve of the Republican effort.

The GOP says its push to chop taxes on businesses and individuals by year-end is designed to trim the burden on middle-class taxpayers while boosting job creation and wage growth.

Voters largely have not bought into the message, the Quinnipiac poll found.

  • Sixty-one percent of voters said the plan would mainly help the wealthy. Twenty-four percent responded that it would primarily benefit the middle class, while only 6 percent said the same about low-income people.
  • The proposals favor the rich at the expense of the middle class, 59 percent of respondents said. Only 33 percent disagreed with that statement.
  • Only 36 percent of respondents said the GOP effort will lead to more jobs and better economic growth. A majority, 52 percent, disagreed.
  • Thirty-six percent of voters said the proposals would not have much of an effect on their taxes. Thirty-five percent said the plan would increase what they pay, while 16 percent said it would reduce their tax burden.

Poor public approval of the plan could give more fodder to Democratic arguments that Republican tax bills would not do enough to help the middle class.

House and Senate Republicans have crafted separate, but largely overlapping, bills that would chop corporate taxes and tweak the individual tax system. The House aims to pass its plan Thursday, while the Senate wants to approve its bill during the week after Thanksgiving.

If the chambers pass their own bills, they will have to reconcile them. Lawmakers would create a unified plan to approve and send to President Donald Trump's desk.

Major analyses so far have estimated that versions of the bills would cut the tax burden on most Americans. However, millions of middle-income people could end up seeing a tax increase, due to changes to provisions like state and local tax deductions.

Both bills would reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent. On the individual side, the plans get rid of the personal exemption, nearly double the standard deduction, either narrow or repeal the estate tax and reduce the tax burden on pass-through businesses.

Under the latest Senate proposal, most individual rate cuts would expire, while corporate reductions would be permanent. The bill would also effectively repeal the Obamacare individual mandate, a politically contentious measure that would lead to an estimated 13 million more people uninsured by 2027.

The bills treat some deductions differently. The House plan curbs the mortgage interest deduction and keeps a deduction for state and local property taxes. The Senate bill does not change the cap on the mortgage interest deduction and scraps all state and local deductions.

The nationwide Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,577 voters from Nov. 7 to Nov. 13. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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