Tax increases, spending cuts earn public support

Forty-three percent of Americans believe that a combination of spending cuts and tax increases are needed to solve the looming fiscal cliff, according to the results of a new national survey.

Thirty-seven percent believe cutting spending alone is the best way to handle the deficit and 8 percent think tax increases are the solution, according to the Emerson College Polling Society.

"Our data suggests that Americans want a compromise between tax increases and spending cuts: a solution of every five dollars in spending cuts, for every one dollar in tax increases is a popular compromise for the country to avoid going over the fiscal cliff,” said ECPS president Grey VanDeMark.

Raising revenue without spending cuts does not have wide support, said Jordan Del Guercio, director of communications for ECPS. 

"Only 8 percent of Americans think raising taxes is the sole solution, and 55 percent of Americans say they will change their spending habits if tax increases are a result of a deal," Del Guercio said.

The poll also showed that people's opinions about Grover Norquist, the president of Americans For Tax Reform, are generally negative, with 35 percent having an unfavorable opinion and only 20 percent having a favorable impression.

Felix Chen, an international student from China and the chief analyst for ECPS, concludes that Norquist hurt his image by telling the GOP to keep their hands off any deal that involves a tax increase since the majority of people want a combination of spending cuts and tax increases to help avoid the fiscal cliff.

Norquist's famous "no-tax pledge" has drawn the ire of Democrats who identify the activists as the source of Republicans unwillingness to meet Democrats halfway in previous fiscal negotiations. The American people concur. Only 25 percent advocate sticking to the no tax pledge, while 62 percent favor raising taxes on the wealthy.

Only 42 percent of Republicans believe the GOP should stick to the anti-tax pledge; 35 percent would allow tax increases on the wealthy, and 23 percent are unsure on the tax increase issue. In addition, 66 percent of Independents and 83 percent of Democrats think that tax increases on the wealthy should be on the table during the fiscal negotiations.

Data was collected between November 27 and 28, 2012, using an automated data collection system. The national sample consisted of 983 people.

Emerson College Polling Society is a student organization at Emerson College dedicated to formulating, administering and analyzing public opinion polls.


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