October 26, 2017

Poll Watch: Taxes, Politics and More

The House of Representatives passed a budget bill by a slim but safe margin, making for the government to borrow up to $1.5 trillion bucks to pay for their "middle class" tax reform program.

How do everyday Americans think about the plan? Well, we don't know any more than Congress does about what will actually be on the table - loopholes will be closed, and we'll be able to file our taxes on  a postcard, or at least on a single sheet of paper depending on whether you listen to House Speaker Paul Ryan or president Trump - but we don't seem to be very excited about it.

According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, we really wish our elected officials would do something completely different. First, some information about the poll itself.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English in all 50 states. It gathered responses from 1862 people, including 1079 who said they were aware of the Republican tax plan. It has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3 percentage points.
(I feel kinda like the small print voiceover lady on car commercials.)

Here are some highlights, first looking at the relative importance of deficit reduction and tax cuts for the three populations: poor, rich, and corporations:
  • more than two thirds of registered voters said reducing the deficit was more important than cutting taxes for the wealthy or for corporations;
  • even 63% of Republicans favored reducing the deficit over corporate tax cuts, and 75% felt that way about tax cuts for rich people;
  • more than 50% of adults in the survey said cutting taxes on poor people was more important than reducing the deficit; by party affiliation, both Democrats (68%) and Republicans (47%) agreed 
About the tax plan itself, what did respondents think?
  • only 15% of registered voters think Congress should be working on tax cuts instead of other priorities; 
  • of those who said they had heard of the plan, only 28% support it; 41% oppose, and 31% don't know;
  • a small 14% thought their taxes would go down; 30% thought their taxes would go up, and 35% expect no change;
  • unsurprisingly, Republicans (56%) are more enamored of the plan than are Dems (9%)
We'll have to wait to see what the tax plan actually ends up bringing us middle class tax payers - I do know that a couple of the 'no' votes in the House came from my neck of the woods, in Central New York. That makes me feel a little better.

Did you hear about Dubya's speech, and Obama's comments, on our current political climate? The folks at Rasmussen Reports asked a question about that, and got an interesting answer. First, the fine print:
The (national) survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted (by telephone and online) on October 22-23, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/-3 percentage points, with a 95% level of confidence. 902 of those surveyed were white.
In the part of the poll you can see outside the Rasmussen pay wall,
63% of likely US voters agree with Obama's statement: "If you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you're not going to be able to govern. You won't be able to unite them later if that's how you start."
That one's kind of curious, I think. Rasmussen trends more conservative than many other polling outlets, so that's a pretty big number who appear to think that Trump won't be able to govern. And since we know Paul Ryan has little control over the House, and Mitch McConnell has little control over the Senate, who, exactly, is supposed to be governing?

Finally, let's look at another hot topic, discrimination. A new poll has come out, showing that people from all races, including whites, believe their group faces discrimination.
The NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health survey sampled 3453 adults in the US from January 26th to April 9th.
Results for whites show that 55% believe there is discrimination against whites in America today,and further that
19% say they've personally been discriminated against because they are white when applying for jobs; 13% say they experienced discrimination regarding fair pay or promotions, and 11% have felt discrimination when applying for or attending college.
There is some fascinating first-person information accompanying the survey; the information is being reported in the NPR series you, me and them: experiencing discrimination in the US.

I have never felt discriminated against for being white; I'm curious -- what's been your experience?

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