By Jay Heflin - 06/03/10 02:26 PM EDT
Fifty-six percent of those polled by Harris Interactive said they would oppose an "obesity" tax on soft drinks and fast food that would be applied by local and state governments to make up for budget shortfalls.
Opposition to the tax is the most robust among people living in the South, where 61 percent of respondents opposed the tax.
Those with higher incomes were less likely to oppose the tax than those with lower incomes.
About half (49 percent) of those making between $35,000 and $49,900 strongly oppose the levy, while only 39 percent of those earning at least $75,000 outright oppose the tax.
A release on the poll noted that first lady Michelle Obama's campaign against childhood obesity has thrust a tax on fast food and soft drinks onto the legislative agendas of local and state governments. It said the poll shows public resistance to the levy is stiff and widespread.
"These taxes are being hard fought and it is not just those in the industry who are against them," the release states. "At the moment, supporters of the taxes on fast food and soft drinks need to convince the American public that they are both necessary and that they will help curb this [obesity] problem."
The poll was conducted online within the U.S. between April 23 and 27 among 2,140 adults.