Poll: Voters oppose tax hikes in debt-ceiling deal 55/34


Call it Dueling Pollsters.  Early today, Quinnipiac’s poll of 2,311 registered voters indicated that they want to see tax increases included in any deal to raise the debt ceiling.  Rasmussen polled 1,000 likely voters and found the exact opposite, with 55% opposed to any new taxes in a debt-ceiling increase deal:

As the Beltway politicians try to figure out how they will raise the debt ceiling and for how long, most voters oppose including tax hikes in the deal.

Just 34% think a tax hike should be included in any legislation to raise the debt ceiling. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 55% disagree and say it should not.

The difference might be in the way the questions were asked, being mindful of the Pollster-in-Chief’s warning on survey language.  Rasmussen’s question seems a little more straightforward, if generic:

As part of Legislation to Raise Debt Ceiling Should Congress and President Raise Taxes?

Quinnipiac is more specific:

Do you think any agreement to raise the national debt ceiling should include only spending cuts or should it also include an increase in taxes for the wealthy and corporations?

That is a perfectly legitimate question; the context of tax hikes from the White House has been to raise taxes on corporations and higher-income earners.  However, the term “wealthy” will provoke some emotional response (and it’s arguably inaccurate, since the taxes proposed would impact individuals making as low as $200,000 per year).  Quinnipiac would have been better off to have avoided the term — “higher income earners” would have been more accurate, objective, and less prone to the emotional responses that come with “wealthy.”

In the Rasmussen poll, raising taxes is only popular among Democrats, black voters, and self-professed liberals and the political class.  Except among liberals (66%), the majorities are relatively weak, at 58%, 51%, and 59% respectively.  Raising taxes fails in every income bracket, by a majority in every age bracket, and among both men (36/57) and women (33/53).  Independents oppose tax hikes 35/51, and even 32% of Democrats oppose tax hikes.

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Perhaps this was why Obama made the, ”Americans are too stupid to understand this hard stuff, so leave it to us professional politicians,” remark the other day…….

When asked a question by Chip Reid concerning a CBS poll saying only “24 percent of Americans said you should raise the debt limit…” And how did Obama respond?

“Well, let me distinguish between professional politicians and the public at large. The public is not paying close attention to the ins and outs of how a Treasury option goes. They shouldn’t.”

Obama, July 11, 2011, approximately 11:20 EDT.

Then Obama added:

“I think, depending on how you phrase the question, if you said to the American people, is it a good idea for the United States not to pay its bills and potentially create another recession that could throw millions of more people out of work, I feel pretty confident I can get a majority on my side on that one.”

Obama is acting as a insulting bully.
I agree with Obama that we shouldn’t do policy based on public opinion (that’s what he says HERE anyway) but on this he happens to be wrong and ”most Americans” know it.


“As part of Legislation to Raise Debt Ceiling Should Congress and President Raise Taxes? ”

55 percent of 1,000 likely voters responded no.


“Do you think any agreement to raise the national debt ceiling should include only spending cuts or should it also include an increase in taxes for the wealthy and corporations?”

67 percent of the 2,311 registered voters sampled responded that tax increases for the wealthy and corporations should be included.

A precisely worded question reveals more truth than a vague question.

Ed Morrisey neglected to quote the markedly higher Quinnipiac percentage figure.

@ Greg
Wrong again Greg. The Rasmussen is very specifically worded. The Quinnipiac question is much more vague, when you consider the following truths:

To a homeless person, everyone else is wealthy.

To a multi-millionaire, billionaires are wealthy.

A corporation could have anywhere from two to two million employees.

The amount of proposed “increased taxes” is not specific, and could be anything from a penny to trillions.

Since there is no agreement that the meaning of the precise wording of either either statement equals the other, I guess we should disregard the comparative veracity of both–as far as polling data goes–and see if they can’t do better next time.

@Ditto, #3:

How many homeless people and multimillionaires do you imagine the Quinnipiac sample of 2,311 registered voters included? I think we can safely assume that the Quinnipiac random sample–over twice the size of Rasmussen’s–responded from a largely mainstream perspective.

Nor does the average person automatically assume that every corporation is some megalith awash in money–particularly when the words “wealthy” and “corporation” are used together in a single sentence. The average person can easily differentiate between a corporation that might turn up on the Fortune 500 list and their neighbor’s local small business operation. Average people understand what the question is asking.

It’s true that the question leaves the level of the hypothetical tax increase unspecified. Levels aren’t under consideration. What is being asked is whether any upper-end tax increases should be part of the budget solution or not. In other words, do those being questioned approve of a flat refusal to consider any such increases at all. 67 percent disagree with that position. They think that increased high-end taxes should be part of the solution.

As a general question to discover the prevailing attitude on that point, what Quinnipiac asked strikes me as being about as clear as any single question could be. Numerous additional questions would be needed to zero in on attitudes about specifics, such as at what income level tax rates should become more progressive.


The subject of both your post and mine was how specific or vague the two poll questions were. Not the demographics of those polled. As you know full well, the point I was making is that personal opinion of what constitutes “wealthy” varies depending on each person’s financial situation.

I think we can safely assume that the Quinnipiac random sample–over twice the size of Rasmussen’s–responded from a largely mainstream perspective.

If that’s the case, then that poll is totally worthless, as it presumes to be reflecting society as a whole and not just those that the pollsters consider “mainstream”. If you only poll a small sampling of the “mainstream”, then you are introducing a bias to the poll, and you are leaving out quite a few people who might not agree with your poll. I think the only thing we can acknowledge by your assumption is that you know absolutely squat about statistical accuracy and the real business of polling.

What is being asked is whether any upper-end tax increases should be part of the budget solution or not.

Define “upper-end tax increases”. You can not because that is simply more vagueness, which supports my conclusion that the purpose for the first portion of the question pertaining to “the wealthy and coporation” was to elicit an attitude of class warfare and anti-bigbusiness capitalism. (i.e. to insert bias into the question.)

In other words…

You can not consider “in other words” to interpret a poll question. Your own personal “other words” can not reflect how various people from differing walks of life themselves understood the question, nor (unless you wrote the polling question) the writer’s interpretation. You can only consider the actual question asked.

Quinnipiac’s poll question was vague and had a built in bias. Rasmussen’s question was to the point and held no bias. Without knowing the actual demographics, it is impossible to determine if the results might have been biased by locality or other social orientations of those asked.

The entire problem with the Quinnipiac poll question actually comes down to only one thing: Conservatives strongly dislike what the response has clearly revealed concerning mainstream opinion about high-end tax increases.

Ditto says “one’s personal opinion of what constitutes wealthy varies” So are you saying no matter what someone makes,if someone makes more he can LEGITIMATELY state he’s not wealthy? Doesn’t fly.

Greg#7 Strongly agree


That is your politicised interpretation. The Quinnipiac poll question is not a neutral question. It forces those asked to pick one side or the other to the exclusion of any other answers. It is therefore biased and flawed. This tends to be the norm in many political polls. How you ask such questions, where you ask them, and who you ask them of, an color the answer. That is why I rarely consider polls as being anything more than statistical tools rather than absolute fact.

@ Rich Wheeler.

Nope, that’s not what I said. your hypothetical person can however legitimately state that she is not as wealthy as someone who is richer than herself. Vague concepts such as wealth and poor which are always open to interpretation.

Ditto, you are absolutly right, the fact that quini, put a label on one side was bias,
and It’s true that If you earn in the 30000 per year, the one who earn 60ooo
is wealthy in your mind, it’s obvious, so in the mind of the mainstrem people,
it would ring that bell.

@Ditto: I flatly oppose a tax rate increase on the wealthy. they pay most of the taxes,now.

DITTO Disband the I.R.S. Institute a fair tax.Let the big spenders and uber-consumers pay for their toys.

CURT, hi,
one thing that come out is the finding that the POORS who will vote in 2012,
will show a different interest when they know the importance of voting for the one who will not go in spending sprees, get the DEBT CEILING ON TOP AGAIN, and declare that the money should be taken out of them, and the veterans and the militarys,
just because they are the big spender and the rest is not important to them,
those polls are showing that some are now alert and not feeling secure as they where before
hope they continue to be alert in 2012, very important election for their own security.

@Rich Wheeler

I have mixed feelings on the “flat tax”, mostly because many of those touting various methods will not go into details of what kind of flat tax system they are talking about i.e.:

(1) A flat sales tax, (which would flip the tax burden whereby the wealthy would pay much less than they do now and the poor would pay considerably more of their income to taxes, and it is unclear how this would affect “sin taxes,” excise taxes, and taxes on necessities of life such as food).

(2) A flat income tax, (whether this would tax all income equally, including wages, capital gains, and inheritance. )


(3) Some other method of “flat tax”, (For example: Everyone paying a specific amount of tax for each member of their family. A set amount for each individual household. A flat property tax on assessed value of property.)

Nor have I heard anything of these plans regarding corporations and non-profit entities. Without covering such details and including whether there are any exclusions, it is not possible to properly evaluate whether any undisclosed “flat tax” plan is a “fair” tax. It seems to me that most of them would result in the wealthiest paying much less, and the poor paying much more.

@m.b. koepnick

I flatly oppose a tax rate increase on the wealthy. they pay most of the taxes,now.

I am against tax increases, preferring for government to cut waste unnecessary spending and get rid of most loopholes. I am however very much for for continuing taxable deductions for donations to non-profits/charitable organizations as they have been very hard hit by the recession. Donations have mostly dried-up, grants are becoming few and far between while people still want them to continue to provide their services to the community.

Ditto FAIR TAX (SALES TAX) definately not flat tax. Charitable deductions and mortgage deductions (incentives) remain in some fashion.

Raise the taxes on the rich WHO DO NOT CREATE JOBS, JUST PROTECT THEIR OWN WEALTH. Stop paying illegals and the purposely poor, who soak the system. Where is a good, middle of the road, FAIR TO THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS, plan that will cut off ALL foreign aid (charity begins at home-it is NOT a global issue. Most countries, including our friends in Italy, Oz, NZ, etc… DESPISE the American people and openly laugh in our faces. LET ALL FOREIGN AID CEASE NOW. I care about American infrastructure being rebuilt, not Iraq’s. I care that American schools are closing, not Afghanistan’s. I care about the drought ravaging American livestock producers, not a drought in any African nation. I care about Americans being unemployed and homeless, not refugees or illegals from ANYWHERE. OF COURSE it looks like the bulk of taxes are paid by the wealthy! BUT 40% OF 400000.00 LEAVES ALOT OF MONEY! 29% of 40,000. leaves barely enough to scrape by. WAKE UP! WE CANNOT BABY SIT, PAY FOR AND/OR POLICE THE ENTIRE WORLD! THESE COUNTRIES ACT LIKE WE OWE THEM THESE HANDOUTS, AND THEN OPENLY HATE US. WAKE UP! Take care of OUR PEOPLE, OUR DEBTS, and OUR FUTURE!

Dom Rotella,, hi,
WOW that is better than any speech we heard, that should come from the PRESIDENT’S MOUTH,
cut the money that go out keep the expanses in AMERICA, FOR THE PEOPLE,

Bees RE #16 Surprised you agree with RAISE THE TAXES ON THE RICH. Are you a closet Liberal?

rich wheeler , where did you see that what you claim
I type, I checked here and none is there

Bees In #16 Don said “raise the taxes on the rich” In #17 you complemented his post.

rich wheeler, I complement the post saying that , the money should stay in AMERICA, not to be spent on the friends of OBAMA IN THE FOREIGN NATIONS , TO HELP THEIR REVOLUTION AND GET THEM MORE POWERFUL TO WANT TO DESTROY ISRAEL, THAT IS THEIR INTENT.
that is the take I took from DOM GOOD COMMENT.