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Poll: 74 Percent Support Higher Taxes On The Rich

4793929Almost three-quarters of Americans think it is a good idea to raise taxes on people making more than $250,000 per year, according to the latest CBS News/New York Times poll.

In fact, two-thirds of Americans think the tax code should be changed so that middle-class Americans pay less than they do now, while "upper income" people pay more.

As for President Obama's overall budget plan, a majority - 56 percent - say it sets the right priorities for the country. Thirty-two percent say it doesn't, and twelve percent don't know.

The poll also finds that Americans are more likely to say the spending proposals in the budget will help the economy (37 percent) rather than hurt the economy (23 percent). Twenty-nine percent aren't yet sure.

Read The Complete Poll (PDF)
Similarly, 32 percent of Americans say they think Mr. Obama's proposed tax plan will help the economy, while 21 percent think it will hurt. Again, a significant portion – 37 percent – are unsure.

Fifty-six percent of Americans say they approve of Mr. Obama's overall handling of the economy. (Read more on Obama's approval ratings here.) His marks on specific economic policies, however, are not so high.

The poll shows that fewer than half support the Obama administration's recent plans for either the auto or banking industries – though there is more support for the administration's proposals for automakers.


Forty-seven percent approve of the administration's proposals for the automakers, while 38 percent disapprove.

Eight-two percent say it is important to provide money to the auto companies in order to save jobs, including 49 percent who say it is very important. Seventeen percent say it is not important.

Meanwhile, a majority of Americans – 58 percent - disapprove of the administration providing financial aid to the banking industry. Only 33 percent approve.

Americans are divided over who will benefit from the plans help to the banking system: Forty-seven percent think all Americans will benefit, while nearly as many – 40 percent - say only bankers will.

Here are some more economic highlights from the poll:

  • Americans are split when asked to choose between more stimulus spending and deficit reduction – 45 percent prefer spending while 46 percent prefer reducing the deficit. There are sharp partisan differences mirroring the division in Washington: Six in ten Democrats see the need for spending, while six in ten Republicans would prioritize the deficit.

  • In the long term, the national debt looms as a concern. An overwhelming 91 percent of Americans today worry that it will create hardships for the next generation.

  • A solid majority – 71 percent - thinks government regulation of banks and financial institutions should be increased in order to help prevent future financial crises. Both Democrats and Republicans agree.

  • Sixty-four percent think in order to receive money from the federal government companies should have to accept instructions from the government on how to run their businesses. Twenty-seven percent the companies should still be able to run themselves as they see fit.

  • Twenty-eight percent say they are enthusiastic about Mr. Obama's handling of the economic crisis, and another 40 percent says they are satisfied. On the flip side, 22 percent say they are dissatisfied and nine percent say they are angry.

  • Just 11 percent of Americans think the economy is in good shape now, while 89 percent say the economy is in bad shape - about the same percentages that felt that way three weeks ago. However, the public's outlook for the economy is improving. While only 20 percent think the economy is getting better, 34 percent think it is getting worse – the lowest percentage in two years.

  • Few Americans see a quick end to the current recession. One in 10 thinks the recession will last another six months, and 38 percent think it will last a year. Forty-nine percent envision it lasting two years or more.

  • Many Americans have cut back on their day-to-day spending. Forty percent have eliminated some luxuries and another 10 percent have cut back spending on necessities; thirty one percent have cut back on both. Just one in five says they have not made any spending cutbacks.

More CBS News Polls Released Today:

Poll: Obama Approval Hits New High - 66%

Poll: Majority Would Pay Higher Taxes For Universal Health Care

Poll: Support For Free Trade On The Rise