Taxes vs. Political Leanings

I continue to find interesting tidbits in a recent CBS News/New York Times poll. First, I was intrigued by poll results about gays in the military… It also turns out that people’s understanding about changes in taxes are flat-out astounding, even to a cynic like me.

An individual’s political views apparently have a huge impact on their understanding of what’s happened with taxes in the past year.

People were asked, “In general, do you think the Obama Administration has increased taxes for most Americans, decreased taxes for most Americans or have they kept taxes the same for most Americans?”

Responses for people who affiliate with the so-called “Tea Party” movement were vastly different than those of the average respondent.

All Respondents
12% – Lowered taxes
53% – Kept taxes the same
24% – Raised taxes

Tea Partiers
2% – Lowered taxes
46% – Kept taxes the same
44% – Raised taxes

According to government reports, however, a whopping 95% of Americans received tax relief in the past year… But only 12% of the general population, and only 2% of people who consider themselves affiliated with the Tea Party movement, are aware of this.

Clearly, the White House has clearly done a piss-poor job of getting that point out there in a way that Americans understand and believe.

CBS News posted an interesting possible explanation:

While the majority of the tax cuts, passed last February, affected 95 percent of working families, when they took affect by April of 2009, the monetary value was not too large — most families saw about $70 more in take home pay every month. Individual workers saw about $13 more a week.

Any tax relief is still relief, but many Americans may not have felt that the tax cuts had much impact.

Sounds plausible to me… That would explain why many people think their taxes stayed the same, but damn, it’s a shame how many people think their taxes actually went up.

Then again, you know what they say: your perception is your reality.

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2 Responses to Taxes vs. Political Leanings

  1. MTR says:

    First of all there is 45% of the population that doesn’t pay income tax. There are 42.5 million who do not pay because they are low income earners. And there are 15 million who don’t file because they make less than the threshold
    http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/542.html

    These people did not get a tax cut. So when polls show people saying they didn’t get a tax cut, they were correct.

  2. gatoruptown says:

    Thanks for the link, MTR! Interesting information in there that certainly adds context to the discussion.

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