Poll finds support for proposals to tax the rich

A new survey found a majority of the public supports proposals to increase taxes on the rich as progressive lawmakers and presidential candidates have been pushing for greater tax burdens for the very wealthy.

Results from a SurveyMonkey poll conducted for The New York Times, released Tuesday, found that 62 percent of Americans think the government should pursue policies to reduce the wealth gap, while 34 percent disagreed. Eighty-seven percent of Democrats, 70 percent of independents and 38 percent of Republicans said the government should take action to close the wealth gap.

The survey also found majority support for proposals to tax the rich from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is running for president, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the freshman progressive lawmaker, with Warren's proposal receiving more support from independents and Republicans than Ocasio-Cortez's idea. 

Warren has proposed a 2 percent tax on wealth above $50 million, while Ocasio-Cortez has floated a 70 percent top tax rate on income more than $10 million.

Both the wealth tax and the 70 percent rate ideas received approval from 75 percent of Democrats. Warren's proposal had the support of 57 percent of independents and 51 percent of Republicans, while Ocasio-Cortez's idea had the approval from 51 percent of independents and 31 percent of Republicans.

In total, 61 percent of adults approved of the wealth tax, and 51 percent of adults approved of the 70 percent rate.

The survey comes as the Democratic presidential primary is heating up, and proposals to tax the rich significantly more are expected to be a key part of some candidates' platforms. In addition to Warren proposing a wealth tax, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who entered the Democratic primary on Tuesday, has called for an expansion of the federal estate tax.

SurveyMonkey polled 9,974 adults online from Feb. 4 to Feb. 10. The survey has a modeled error estimate, which is similar to a margin of error, of plus or minus 1.5 percentage points. The New York Times included people leaning toward a party in the data it released about Democrats' and Republicans' answers to the survey questions.

The poll results are in line with findings from other recent surveys. Polls from The Hill and Harris X have found 74 percent of voters backing a wealth tax and 59 percent backing a 70 percent rate. A recent Morning Consult-Politico poll also found more support for Warren's proposed wealth tax than Ocasio-Cortez's idea for a 70 percent top marginal tax rate.