Internal poll shows tax law backfiring for GOP

Greg Nash

A poll commissioned by the Republican National Committee found that President Trump’s tax law is backfiring for the GOP, with most voters saying it benefits corporations and wealthy individuals more than the middle class.

The poll, which Bloomberg obtained and reported on Thursday, comes weeks before the midterm elections. Republicans hoped that the tax cuts would benefit them in the elections, but the report on the survey says that the GOP has “lost the messaging battle on the issue.”

The survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, found that 61 percent of participants said that the law helps corporations and the wealthy more than middle-class families, while 30 percent said the opposite. Republicans said the tax law benefited the the middle class more by a 38-point margin, while independents said it benefits the wealthy more by a 36-point margin, Bloomberg reported.

Overall, those surveyed were evenly split on what they thought of the law, with 44 percent approving and 45 percent opposing.

The RNC-commissioned report said that most voters think Republicans want to make cuts to Medicare and Social Security in order to cut taxes for corporations and the rich, as a result of “a fairly disciplined Democrat attack against the recent tax cuts,” Bloomberg reported.

Democrats, who have made criticism of the tax law part of their own campaign messaging, promoted Bloomberg’s article on the survey findings.

“The American people see this law for what it is: a scam,” said Ryan Thomas, a spokesman for the liberal group Not One Penny.

The tax law is Republicans’ biggest legislative accomplishment since President Trump took office, and was unpopular at the time it passed. Republicans said at the time that they thought voters would view the law more favorably as they started to see greater take-home pay, but the measure has never become overwhelmingly popular.

According to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, whose director is a former Obama administration tax official, all income groups will see a tax cut on average, but taxpayers with incomes between $308,000 and $733,000 will receive the largest tax cut as a percentage of their after-tax incomes. 

Messaging on the tax law has varied in campaigns across the country. In Senate races involving red-state incumbent Democrats, Republicans have attacked the Democrats for siding with liberals and against Trump on taxes. In House races in blue states heavily impacted by the tax law’s cap on the state and local tax deduction, Democrats have made attacks on the tax law a key part of their message even when their GOP opponents voted against the measure.

Supporters of the tax law argue that Republicans could do more to educate voters about it.

While analysts say that most taxpayers will receive a tax cut in the near-term, a survey from the Job Creators Network and pollster Scott Rasmussen released earlier on Thursday found that 36 percent of adults thought it was false that the law cuts taxes for most Americans. 

“The details are not terribly well-known about the tax cuts,” Rasmussen said.

– updated at 6:45 p.m.


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