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Majority of Americans aren't buying corporate tax-cut promises: CNBC/SurveyMonkey

Key Points
  • Americans say the GOP tax-reform plan will benefit the wealthy more than any other group.
  • A majority of Americans do not believe the tax cuts being sold by President Trump as 'rocket fuel' for the economy will lead to job creation or economic growth.
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CNBC survey: a majority of Americans aren't buying corporate tax-cut promises

President Donald Trump took to the heartland this week to pitch the GOP tax-reform plan as "rocket fuel" for the U.S. economy. But as the Senate nears a vote on its tax-reform package, a majority of Americans aren't buying its economic or job promises, according to the results of a survey conducted this month by CNBC and SurveyMonkey.

When it comes to the corporate tax cuts in the GOP plan that are being considered as permanent changes to the tax code, a majority of Americans do not believe they will lead to job creation.

Will tax cuts create jobs

Prevent businesses from creating more jobs10%
Have no effect on job creation42%
No Answer4%

A majority of Americans also do not believe that the corporate tax cuts will boost the economy.

corp tax cuts and econ chart

Hinder economic growth20%
Have no effect on economic growth32%
No Answer4%

There has been some debate within the Senate about raising the corporate rate from the proposed 20 percent rate to 22 percent if it would help passage of the bill. Though on Thursday, John McCain said he would vote "yes" on the bill, even though he said it is "far from perfect," boosting the bill's chances and sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average up by more than 300 points, its best day of the year.

The wealthy win

But Americans don't think corporations are the biggest winner in the tax-reform plan — that group would be the wealthy. Though there's a big gap between those who think the plan will mostly benefit corporations (18 percent) and those who think it will mostly benefit small businesses (7 percent).

Which group will benefit the most from tax reform 

Don’t know22%
The middle class19%
Large corporations18%
Small businesses7%

Small business has more bullish view

Small-business owners agree with the broader population that the wealthy stand to benefit the most, but among the 1,290 survey respondents who own businesses, almost twice as many (13 percent) think they will be the biggest winners. They also are much more confident than the broader public on the tax-reform plan's potential to boost the economy and create jobs.

small biz owners and tax cuts/economy

Hinder economic growth15%
Have no effect on economic growth27%

small biz and tax cut and jobs

Prevent businesses from creating more jobs9%
Have no effect on job creation37%

View of Trump looms large in results

When the survey respondents are segmented based on approval or disapproval of President Trump, the responses about tax reform are vastly different.

trump and tax plan

Corporate tax cut result Approve of Trump Disapprove of Trump
Stimulate economic growth74%25%
Hinder economic growth6%30%
Have no effect on economic growth18%42%

trump and tax plan jobs

Corporate tax cut result Approve of Trump Disapprove of Trump
Help businesses create more jobs74%24%
Prevent businesses from creating more jobs3%15%
Have no effect on job creation20%58%

In addition, among those who approve of Trump, only 9 percent believe the wealthy are the biggest winners. Trump supporters say the middle class will be the biggest winner (35 percent). Equal percentages of Americans who approve of Trump (12 percent) think large corporations or small businesses will be the biggest beneficiary of the tax reform plan.

The CNBC/SurveyMonkey survey was conducted this month among 7,754 Americans, using the SurveyMonkey platform methodology. It was a special edition of the quarterly CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey, which will be released next in December.

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