President Obama is winning the public debate over raising taxes on the rich. This admission comes from an unlikely source--Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, a well-financed conservative advocacy group linked to Karl Rove, a senior GOP strategist and former adviser to President George W. Bush.
"President Obama hasn't closed the sale with the public on his latest stimulus, but one theme does appear to resonate," says Steven Law, Crossroads GPS president. "It may be the result of larger environmental conditions, or he may be moving the needle himself, but Obama's 'tax the rich' mantra is getting traction: our poll found that 64 percent favored raising taxes on people with incomes above $200,000." [Read: American Crossroads Uses Clinton Against Obama on Taxes.]
As part of Crossroads' effort to shape the 2012 campaign, Law is advising GOP candidates to take on Obama by emphasizing that the opposition to his "big spending plans" is bipartisan; by pointing out that many of his current proposals have already been tried but failed to improve the economy, and by highlighting that Obama's stimulus is only a "Band Aid' that wouldn't provide a real cure for what ails the economy. [Vote: Are Obama's Proposed Tax Hikes 'Class Warfare'?]
Law points out in a new strategy memo made available to reporters that 45 percent of Americans approve of Obama's lastest job creation or stimulus plan but 44 percent disapprove. He suggests that the public is open to being convinced by either side so it's important for conservative to make their arguments aggressively and in a sustained way.