It’s important to keep in mind that the deficit reduction portion of President Obama’s new economic plan—and specifically the part about raising taxes on the wealthy—is not a wild-eyed sop to his progressive base, but enjoys broad support public support.
A Gallup poll released today provides the latest data point in this regard. According to the survey, 66 percent of all Americans favor the idea of raising taxes on individuals earning more than $200,000 and families making more than $250,000 in order to pay for the president’s jobs plan, while only 32 percent oppose the idea. By an even larger margin (70-26), Americans favor eliminating tax deductions for some corporations, thus raising their taxes. [Read about the coming Republican tax hike.]
The poll goes on to show not only strong support for the job creation side of Obama’s plan, but actual bipartisan support for most its elements. According to Gallup, half or more of all Republicans support things like more money to hire teachers, police officers, and firefighters, as well as additional fund for public works projects (like repairing schools).
As others have pointed out, this flies in the face of an emerging media meme that Obama’s plan represents a break with mainstream America. Greg Sargent links to a number of them before arguing:
To insist that this is only about winning over disaffected Dems is to misstate the nature of the bet the White House is making, which is a bet on where the true center of the country lies. Worse still is the unstated assumption underlying much of the analysis: That there’s no way the middle of the country could possibly embrace Obama’s new approach.
But as it happens, strong majorities of moderates and independents support tax hikes on the wealthy as the best way to close the deficit.
He lists a half-dozen recent polls—to which we can add the Gallup poll—to support his case. Certainly Obama’s move is designed to appeal to an increasingly disaffected base. But in this case he has also found a political sweet spot where that base’s desires also coincide with independents’.