The Public and Taxing the Rich

Felix Salmon and Kevin Drum ponder the American middle class’ implacable opposition to taxing the rich as a means of closing the budget deficit. Their comments are interesting, but I’m seeking evidence that any such opposition exists. On March 29, Quinnipiac University asked “Do you think – raising income taxes on households making more than $250,000 should or should not be a main part of any government approach to the deficit?” The answer? People think it should:


When they asked about raising income taxes on households making more than 1 million dollars, support was overwhelming, 72 of respondents including a majority of self-identified Republicans said it was a good idea.

More from PollingReport:

CBS News/New York Times Poll. April 5-12, 2010. N=1,580 adults nationwide:

“Do you regard the income tax which you will have to pay this year as fair, or not?”
Fair, 68 / Not fair, 30 / Unsure 8

Bloomberg Poll conducted by Selzer & Co. Dec. 3-7, 2009. N=1,000 adults nationwide:

“I’m going to mention some specific government programs that add significantly to the federal deficit. For each, please tell me if the spending is justified and should be continued, was justified but should be cut dramatically, or is not justified at all. . . .”
“Tax cuts for the very wealthy”
Justified, continue, 27 / Justify, cut, 12 / Not Justified, 60 / Unsure 1

Gallup Poll. April 6-9, 2009. N=1,027 adults nationwide:

“As I read off some different groups, please tell me if you think they are paying their fair share in federal taxes, paying too much, or paying too little. How about [see below]?”
Fair share, 23 / Too much, 13 / Too little, 60 / Unsure 3

Higher taxes on the rich is basically the only deficit-reducing policy measure the public supports.