POLL: Americans Hate Republicans' Big Debt-Reduction Idea, Support Taxing The Rich By 2:1 Margin

April 19, 2011 1:57 pm ET — Alan Pyke

Policy proposals for reducing the debt and may be complicated, but the politics of the Republican slash-and-burn budget are simple. Today a McClatchy-Marist poll shows that voters favor taxing the wealthy by a two-to-one margin and oppose cutting Medicare and Medicaid by a four-to-one margin.

Alarmed by rising national debt and increasingly downbeat about their country's course, Americans are clear about how they want to attack the government's runway budget deficits: raise taxes on the wealthy and keep hands off of Medicare and Medicaid. [...]

On tackling the deficit, voters by a margin of 2-to-1 support raising taxes on incomes above $250,000, with 64 percent in favor and 33 percent opposed.

Independents supported higher taxes on the wealthy by 63-34 percent; Democrats by 83-15 percent; and Republicans opposed by 43-54 percent.

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Americans clearly don't want the government to cut Medicare, the government health program for the elderly, or Medicaid, the program for the poor. Republicans in the House of Representatives voted last week to drastically restructure and reduce those programs, while Obama calls for trimming their costs but leaving them essentially intact.

Voters oppose cuts to by 80-18 percent. Even among conservatives, only 29 percent supported cuts, and 68 percent opposed them.

The cornerstone of the Republican budget — the so-called "Path to Prosperity" — is cutting Medicare and Medicaid funding so dramatically that future seniors would face annual medical bills of over $20,000. Eighty percent of American voters think that's a lousy idea — and that's without a poll question pointing out that the Republican plan uses the savings to buy rich people a huge tax cut.

The numbers released today show that the American people, like the facts, are on progressives' side. This latest poll, coming so soon after the White House, progressives in Congress, and the GOP laid out their debt-reduction schemes, should put some steel in Democratic spines on the tax issue.

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