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

  • 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.

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.

Do you think that cutting the corporate tax rate will:

Help businesses create more jobs 44%
Prevent businesses from creating more jobs 10%
Have no effect on job creation 42%
No Answer 4%
CNBC | SurveyMonkey, November 2017

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

Do you think that cutting the corporate tax rate will:

Stimulate economic growth 45%
Hinder economic growth 20%
Have no effect on economic growth 32%
No Answer 4%
CNBC | SurveyMonkey, November 2017

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).

The wealthy 28%
Don’t know 22%
The middle class 19%
Large corporations 18%
Small businesses 7%
CNBC | SurveyMonkey, November 2017

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.

Do you think that cutting the corporate tax rate will:

Stimulate economic growth 56%
Hinder economic growth 15%
Have no effect on economic growth 27%
CNBC | SurveyMonkey, November 2017

Do you think that cutting the corporate tax rate will:

Help businesses create more jobs 53%
Prevent businesses from creating more jobs 9%
Have no effect on job creation 37%
CNBC | SurveyMonkey, November 2017

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.

Do you think that cutting the corporate tax rate will:

Corporate tax cut result
Approve of Trump
Disapprove of Trump
Stimulate economic growth 74% 25%
Hinder economic growth 6% 30%
Have no effect on economic growth 18% 42%
CNBC | SurveyMonkey, November 2017

Do you think that cutting the corporate tax rate will:

Corporate tax cut result
Approve of Trump
Disapprove of Trump
Help businesses create more jobs 74% 24%
Prevent businesses from creating more jobs 3% 15%
Have no effect on job creation 20% 58%
CNBC | SurveyMonkey, November 2017

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.