Poll: Raise taxes on wealthy, leave Medicare, Medicaid alone

On taxes, the poll reported that roughly two out of three registered voters — 64 percent — would be in favor of increasing taxes on annual income over $250,000. President Obama reiterated in his deficit-reduction speech last week that he favored allowing taxes to rise on families in that income level. 

Independents favored that plan of action at roughly the same percentage as the country at large, with more than eight in 10 Democrats also behind the idea. A majority of Republicans, 54 percent, opposed it.

The poll was conducted both before and after Obama’s Wednesday speech, with support for higher taxes on wealthier Americans picking up afterward.

Meanwhile, fully four in five registered voters oppose cutting Medicare and Medicaid. The House GOP’s fiscal 2012 budget, largely crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), makes fundamental long-term changes to both health entitlement programs, converting Medicaid into a block grant and turning Medicare into a type of voucher system. 

Democrats (92 percent), Republicans (73 percent) and independents (75 percent) all opposed cuts to the two programs, the McClatchy-Marist poll found. 

In general, barely three in 10 adults thought the country was headed in the right direction, the lowest number the poll has reported in more than three years. Roughly six in 10 registered voters also disapproved of how the president was handling budget deficits. 

McClatchy-Marist found that a solid majority of registered voters — 57 percent — believe reducing the deficit should be lawmakers’ priority, ahead of cutting taxes and maintaining services and benefits. And, consistent with other polls' findings, most registered voters also opposed raising the debt ceiling, something administration officials have said would have dire consequences.  

The poll was conducted from April 10 to April 14 and surveyed 1,274 adults. 

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