54% Favor Extension of Bush Tax Cuts

Rasmussen Reports

Most voters favor extending the so-called Bush tax cuts that are scheduled to end December 31, but they’re more ambivalent about whether the cuts should be continued for wealthier taxpayers.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 54% of U.S. voters believe the Bush administration tax cuts should be extended. Thirty percent (30%) say the tax cuts should end this year. Sixteen percent (16%) aren’t sure.

Only 22% think letting the tax cuts expire will help the economy. Fifty-one percent (51%) believe ending the cuts will hurt the economy, while 13% more say it will have no impact.

Given the choice, a plurality (48%) favor extending the Bush tax cuts for all Americans while 40% prefer continuing the tax cuts for everyone except wealthy Americans. It’s important to note that the question did not put a monetary value on “wealthy.”

If taxes are increased only on those who earn more than $250,000 a year, 38% believe that would be bad for the economy. Nearly as many, 33% say it would be good for the economy. That latter figure is a huge drop from February of last year.

Despite his campaign pledge to cut taxes for 95% of Americans, 44% of voters expect their taxes to increase under President Obama. Just nine percent (9%) think their taxes will go down, and 39% expect them to stay the same.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 1-2, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

The Bush tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003, according to The Washington Post, “lowered tax rates across the board on income, dividends and capital gains; eventually eliminated the estate tax; further lowered burdens on married couples, parents and the working poor; and increased tax credits for education and retirement savings.” The president is currently considering extending most of these cuts except for taxpayers who earn more than $200,000 per year and families that make more than $250,000.

While 83% of Republicans and 58% of voters not affiliated with either party favor extending the Bush tax cuts, 53% of Democrats think they should end this year.

Fifty-three percent (53%) of voters in the president’s party also believe raising taxes on those who earn more than $250,000 a year is good for the economy. Fifty-six percent (56%) of GOP voters and the plurality (48%) of unaffiliateds say an increase on those taxpayers is bad for the economy.

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