Poll: GOP, Dems divided on taxes

Romney, who also released projected tax payments for 2011, is expected to pay an effective tax rate of around 14 percent over the two-year span, taking advantage of rules that charge a lower rate for capital gains than income.

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In his speech tonight, Obama is expected to cast himself as a defender of the middle class, in part by discussing income inequality and declaring that the wealthiest taxpayers should pay more in taxes.

On Tuesday, congressional Democrats also renewed their call for carried interest to be taxed as income instead of capital gains. In 2010, Romney made $7.4 million in carried interest, a common way for hedge fund and private equity executives to be paid.

In their new poll, the Times and CBS found that roughly half of Americans thought that capital gains and dividends should be taxed at the same rate as income. As it stands, the top rate for capital gains is 15 percent, while the income tax tops out at 35 percent.

In all, just over half of respondents thought that they paid the right amount in taxes.

But while roughly 70 percent of Democrats say the wealthy don’t pay enough, more than half of Republicans say that the wealthy either pay the right amount or too much.
 
Republicans are also much more likely to approve of the current capital gains rate than Democrats, the poll found.