Sorry GOP: Public Still Opposes Tax Cuts For The Wealthy

November 12, 2010 10:45 am ET — Matt Finkelstein

To hear Republican leaders tell it, the midterm election was an unambiguous rebuke of President Obama and a mandate for the GOP to pursue conservative policies without compromise. Last week, for example, future House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) invoked the elections to justify his unwillingness to budge on the Bush tax cuts. "We made clear that we believe that all the current tax rates should be extended for all Americans and permanently," Boehner said. "And the American people spoke on election night. They elected Republicans in droves."  

But reality tells a different story. For the past several months, polls have consistently found that the majority of Americans want to end the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Moreover, there is no evidence that the "shellacking" Democrats suffered in the elections had anything to do with tax rates for the top 2 percent of earners; in fact, exit polling still found that most Americans support allowing the upper-income tax cuts to expire.

Yesterday, CBS News released a new poll conducted from November 7-10, confirming yet again that the American people aren't on board with the Republican plan to extend costly and inefficient tax cuts for the wealthy:

Americans are roughly divided on whether the Bush-era tax cuts for households earning over $250,000 per year should be allowed to expire as scheduled at the end of the year.

Forty-nine percent, including about seven in ten Democrats, say these tax breaks for high earners should be left to expire. Forty-four percent, including seven in ten Republicans, say they should not.

According to the poll, "Seventy-two percent — including a majority of Republicans — want Congressional Republicans to compromise," and most people "blame the GOP" for the lack of cooperation in Washington: "While 73 percent say Mr. Obama will try to work with Republicans, just 45 percent say Republicans will try to work with the president."