Poll: Americans back 'Buffett Rule'

The poll comes as Democrats have made clear that they will make income inequality and tax fairness key parts of their message in the 2012 elections, and after Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) has introduced “Buffett Rule” legislation in Congress.

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As it stands, the billionaire investor Warren Buffett and other high-earning taxpayers – including Mitt Romney, one of the frontrunners for the GOP presidential nomination – pay a lower tax rate because the U.S. taxes capital gains at a far lower rate than income.

But Washington Republicans have slammed the “Buffett Rule” as class warfare. GOP lawmakers last year unveiled their own version of the rule, which would make it easier for anyone who wants to voluntarily pay more in taxes.

Neither “Buffett Rule” bill is thought to have much chance of getting passed this year.

But the AP-GfK poll did find that even around four in 10 Republicans are behind the president’s “Buffett Rule,” as are two out of three independents.

According to the poll, Americans are roughly split over which party they think does a better job handling the economy, taxes and creating jobs. But respondents did give the GOP a 47 percent to 39 percent advantage when it came to managing budget deficits.

The poll of 1,000 adults has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percent.