Even Lowest Income Americans Believe Obama Will Increase Their Taxes, Says Gallup Poll
Fifty-nine percent of Americans with an annual household income of less than $30,000 say they believe Obama will increase their federal income taxes.
Overall, 68% of Americans of all income levels say they believe Obama will increase their income taxes.
From August 6-9, Gallup asked 1,010 American adults the following question: “By the year 2012, when President Obama’s first term as president ends, do you think your federal income taxes will be a lot higher, a little higher, the same, a little lower, (or) a lot lower than they were when President Obama took office?”
Overall, 35% said they would be a lot higher, 33% said they would be a little higher, 20% said they would be the same, 7% said they would be a little lower and 2% said they would be a lot lower.
Among those with annual household incomes of $75,000 or more, 80% said they believe Obama will increase their federal income taxes; and among those with annual household incomes between $30,000 and $74,999, 65% said they believe Obama will increase their income taxes.
Very few Americans said they believe Obama will actually cut their income taxes. Only 4% of those earning more than $75,000, only 9% earning between $30,000 and $74,999, and only 16% of those earning less than $30,000 said they believe he will do that.
The national sentiment captured by the Gallup Poll seemed to be exemplified by a citizen who attended Obama’s town hall meeting in Belgrade, Montana, earlier this month, and told the president that it is “bull” to claim he can pay for his proposed health care plan without raising taxes on people whose taxes he promised he would not raise.
“Max Baucus, our senator [and the Democraitic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee], has been locked up in a dark room for months now trying to come up with some money to pay for these programs,” said the citizen. “And we keep getting this bull. That’s all we get, is bull. You can’t tell us how you’re going to pay for this. You’re saving here, you’re saving over there, you’re going to take a little money here, you’re going to take a little money there. But you have no money. The only way you’re going to get that money is to raise our taxes. You said you wouldn’t. Max Baucus says he doesn’t want to put a bill out that will. But that’s the only way you can do that.”
As part of his response to this citizen, Obama reiterated his promise not to raise taxes on Americans earning less than $250,000 per year.
“When I was campaigning, I made a promise that I would not raise your taxes if you made $250,000 per year or less,” said Obama. “That’s what I said. But I said that for people like myself, who make more than that, there’s nothing wrong with me paying a little bit more in order to help people who’ve got a little bit less. That was my commitment.”
The percentage of Americans who believe Obama will raise their income taxes has gone up since last fall's presidential campaign, when Obama was more persuaisve on the issue. In a Gallup poll conducted October 23-26, 2008, only 49% of Americans said they believed that Obama would increase their federal income taxes if he were elected.
“The rise in expectations that taxes will go up probably is a reflection on Obama's ambitious domestic agenda, which began with a $787 billion economic stimulus plan and is now focused on a roughly $1 trillion healthcare reform bill,” said Gallup’s anlaysis of the new survey released Friday. “Still, the Obama administration has made no definite plans to increase income taxes on any but the wealthiest Americans. Despite this, even a majority of Americans in the lowest income group--whose annual household incomes are less than $30,000--believe their taxes will go up.”
In its analysis, Gallup likened Obama’s political situation to the political situation face by President George H.W. Bush, who famously promised “no new taxes” during his speech at the 1988 Republican National Convention--and then reneged on this promise as president and raised taxes.
“Obama's pledge not to raise income taxes on average Americans evokes former president George H.W. Bush's ‘no new taxes’ pledge during the 1988 presidential campaign,” said Gallup.
“Bush's decision to break that pledge was politically damaging and likely contributed to his 1992 election defeat," said Gallup. "That damage occurred even though, as in the case of Obama, most Americans expected during the early part of Bush's presidency that he would not be able to avoid raising taxes. Thus, Bush appears to have been harmed not by his decision to raise taxes as much as by his not being able to live up to his campaign pledge.”
Read the Gallup analysis here.