Academic journal article AEI Paper & Studies

Public Opinion on Taxes: 1937 to Today

Academic journal article AEI Paper & Studies

Public Opinion on Taxes: 1937 to Today

Article excerpt

TAXES AS A VOTING ISSUE: Voters who tell exit pollsters that taxes are the most important issue to them in casting their ballots, vote in overwhelming proportions for Republican presidential candidates. In presidential elections since 1984, the group that has selected taxes as most important to their vote (or one of the two issues in the Los Angeles Times national exit poll formulation) has ranged from a low of 5 percent in 2004 to a high of 17 percent (in 1984 and 2000) of the electorate. In 2008, the exit pollsters did not include a question like the ones below. They did ask voters if their taxes would go up under an Obama and McCain presidency. Majorities of voters thought their taxes would go up under both. In the 2010 midterm elections, only 18 percent of national exit poll respondents said cutting taxes should be the highest priority for Congress. Forty-percent said reducing the deficit and 37 percent said spending to create jobs should be the highest priority. Those who said cutting taxes should be a priority voting overwhelmingly Republican. In 2012, 14 percent said that taxes were the biggest economic problem facing people like them, and Romney won these voters by a 66-32 percent edge over President Obama.

* Which issues-if any-were most important to you in deciding whom to vote for? No issues really, civil rights, the federal budget deficit, foreign relations, government spending, environmental protection, farm problems, inflation, nuclear arms control, taxes, or unemployment? [accepted up to two responses] (LAT, Nov. 1984)

* Which issues mattered most in deciding how you voted? Punishing criminals, helping the middle class, environment and pollution, economic prosperity and jobs, the federal budget deficit, not raising taxes, defense spending, U.S.-Soviet relations, or abortion? [accepted up to two responses] (CBS/NYT, Nov. 1988)

* Which one or two issues mattered most in deciding how you voted for president? Health care, federal budget deficit, abortion, education, economy/jobs, environment, taxes, foreign policy, or family values? [accepted up to two responses] (VNS, Nov. 1992)

* Which issues-if any-were most important to you when deciding how you would vote for president today moral values, education, jobs/the economy, the environment, taxes, abortion, health care, poverty, federal budget deficit, crime/drugs, foreign affairs or none of the above? [accepted up to two responses] (LAT, Nov. 1992)

* Which one issue mattered most in deciding how you voted for president? Foreign policy, Medicare/Social Security, taxes, crime/drugs, economy/jobs, education, or the federal budget deficit? [accept only one response] (VNS, Nov. 1996)

* Which issues, if any, were most important to you in deciding how you would vote for president today? Moral/ethical values, education, jobs/the economy, the environment, taxes, abortion, health care, poverty, federal budget deficit, crime/drugs, foreign affairs, or none of the above? [accepted up to two responses] (LAT, Nov. 1996)

* Which one issue mattered most in deciding how you voted for president? World affairs, Medicare/Prescription drugs, health care, economy/jobs, taxes, education, Social Security? [accept only one response] (VNS, Nov. 2000)

* Which issues, if any, were most important to you in deciding how you would vote for president today? Moral/ethical values, education, jobs/the economy, the environment, taxes, abortion, health care, Social Security, budget surplus, Medicare/prescription drugs, foreign affairs, or none of the above? [accepted up to two responses] (LAT, Nov. 2000)

* Which one issue mattered most in deciding how you voted for president? Taxes, education, Iraq, terrorism, economy/jobs, moral values, health care? [accept only one] (NEP, Nov. 2004)

* Which issues, if any, were most important to you in deciding how you would vote for president today? Moral/ethical values, jobs/economy, terrorism/homeland security, situation in Iraq, social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, education, taxes, health care, foreign affairs, Social Security, Medicare/prescription drugs, or none of the above? …

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