A majority of Americans favor letting Bush-era tax cuts on the country's richest citizens expire, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll.
The poll found that 48 percent questioned said tax cuts should expire in January on earnings over $250,000 but continue for lower incomes. Another 32 percent believed tax cuts should continue for everyone, a popular view among Republican lawmakers who claim raising taxes would hinder their ability to create jobs. And 13 percent thought the tax cuts dating back to 2001 and 2003 should end for everyone.
The polling results could embolden President Obama's position that tax cuts on the wealthy should end beginning Jan. 1, 2013.
Similar findings came out in a November 2010 AP-CBC poll, which showed support for allowing the tax cuts to expire for those with the largest incomes.
Support among Republicans for renewing the tax cuts for everyone has fluctuated since 2010 dropping from a high of 74 percent just after the GOP recaptured the House in that year's elections to 48 percent in 2012.
Republican congressional aides - often seen as the voice of politicians when they are unable to comment - indicate the tide could be turning within the party regarding support for the tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans. Yahoo News spoke to some aides, who asked not to be identified, that said Republicans are losing the public relations battle over keeping low tax rates for the rich and are getting battered by President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats in Congress following their November 6 election victories.
"Without a deal by Dec. 31, $600 billion in across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases, which are so severe that they likely would shove the economy into recession, are scheduled to begin," notes Yahoo News.
Democrats have supported allowing the tax cuts for the wealthy to expire at a fairly consistent rate of 61 percent.
Democrats in the Senate have vocally favored ending the tax cuts for net incomes above $250,000 a year, which represents an estimated 98 percent of taxpayers. Rates for the 2 percent above that threshold would snap back to pre-2001 levels of 35 percent and 39.6 percent under a Senate-approved bill.
"The first step, the most obvious step, is for the Republican House to take the 98 percent both sides agree on and pass our Senate bill and send it to the president for his signature," Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington state said, reported Yahoo News.
While most Americans favor letting the tax cuts on the rich expire, just over half of those questioned doubt President Obama's ability to reduce budget deficits during his remaining four years in office. In his first days in office in 2009, more people than not thought he would be able to do so.
While a slight majority of Republicans now oppose the Bush-era tax cuts, the poll found little change in the nation's staunchly drawn party lines: 33 percent said they consider themselves Democrats, 23 percent Republicans and 27 percent independents, about the same as in AP-GfK polling over the past six months.
The Associated Press-GfK poll was conducted Nov. 29 to Dec. 3 by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,002 adults nationwide. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.