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Poll: Most back raising taxes on millionaires

chart tax increase

CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

Six in ten Americans believe Congress should raise taxes on Americans earning more than $1 million per year, according to a new CBS News poll, while only 35 percent oppose such an increase.

A narrow majority of Republican primary voters say those making more than $1 million per year should not see an increase -- but they are nearly split on the question. Forty-three percent want to see taxes on millionaires increased, and 51 percent do not.

Most GOP primary voters - 55 percent - don't think such a tax increase would have a negative impact on job creation. Twenty-nine percent say such a tax hike would hurt job creation.

Democrats initially proposed paying for an extension and expansion of the payroll tax cut with a 3.25 percent tax on income in excess of $1 million - a position they eventually dropped amid opposition from Republicans.

The new CBS News poll also looked at the race for the Republican presidential nomination. While Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney were atop the poll with 20 percent support each, the survey found widespread dissatisfaction among GOP voters, nearly 40 percent of whom are undecided or would prefer a candidate who is not in the race. Read about that portion of the poll here.

And below, you can see more findings from the survey, which was conducted from December 14-18:

President Obama's approval rating

Obama Approval Rating


President Obama's approval rating now stands at 47 percent, with 44 percent disapproving. His approval rating is up slightly from the 44 percent figure earlier this month, though it's important to note the three percent difference is within the poll's three point margin of error.

Mr. Obama's approval rating on the economy - which voters overwhelmingly identify as their most important issue - is just 40 percent. A majority of Americans, 53 percent, disapprove of his handling of the economy.

The president fares better on foreign policy, where 51 percent of Americans approve of his performance and just 32 percent disapprove.

Unsurprisingly, Republicans take a dim view of the president. Just 11 percent approving of his performance overall, and just eight percent approving of his handling of the economy.

The silver lining for Mr. Obama? The executive branch of government is more popular than the legislative one. Only 11 percent of Americans - including a mere nine percent of Republican primary voters - approve of the way Congress is handling its job. Eighty-three percent disapprove.

Meanwhile, only one in four Americans - and just five percent of Republican primary voters - says the country is headed in the right direction. Sixty-nine percent say the nation is on the wrong track.

Illegal immigration

One of the fault lines in the race for the Republican presidential nomination has been what to do with illegal immigrants who currently live and work in the United States. Newt Gingrich has said he would allow for some illegal immigrants who have lived in the United States for 25 years to remain in the country, a position Mitt Romney has criticized as amounting to an invitation to come to the country illegally.

One in four Americans say illegal immigrants now working in the United States should be forced to leave the country - including 37 percent of Republicans primary voters.

But 44 percent overall would allow them to stay and apply for citizenship, and 26 percent would have them stay as guest workers.

A majority of Republican primary voters favor one of those two options. Thirty-one percent would allow illegal immigrants now working in the United States to stay and apply for citizenship, while 29 percent favor allowing them to stay as guest workers.

MORE FROM THE POLL: Poll shows GOP voters still looking for answers

Read the complete poll

This poll was conducted by telephone from December 14-18, 2011 among 992 adults nationwide.

893 interviews were conducted with registered voters and 291 with voters who said they plan to vote in a Republican primary. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The margin of error for the sample of registered voters could be plus or minus three points and six points for the sample of Republican primary voters. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.