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Poll: Most want taxes on millionaires increased


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

Most Americans believe that taxes on millionaires should be increased in order to reduce the deficit, according to a new CBS News poll.

Sixty-four percent of Americans said they believe those making a million dollars or more in taxes should pay more. Thirty percent said taxes on such individuals should not be increased. Democrats were extremely likely to support such an increase (83 percent did so), and independents also supported it, 65 percent to 28 percent. On the other side, 54 percent of Republicans opposed such an increase, while 40 percent supported it.

President Obama has proposed a tax increase on those making a million dollars per year or more as part of his deficit reduction plan - the so-called "Buffett Rule" - an idea Republicans deride as "class warfare."

Republicans often argue that increasing taxes on the wealthy will impact job creation. But the new CBS News poll finds that just 18 percent of Americans agree. More - 25 percent - say the increase will actually help job creation. A slim majority - 51 percent - say it will have little impact.

Still, there are mixed signals: Asked the most effective way for the government to get the economy moving, nearly half (47 percent) chose cutting taxes to encourage investment. Fewer - 37 percent - preferred spending more money to create jobs. A majority of Republicans called for tax cuts while a majority of Democrats called for spending to create jobs.

Views of government:

Americans have a highly negative view of the role the government plays in their lives.

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said the government has a negative impact on the lives of most Americans, an increase of 21 percentage points from the percentage that said so in 2006. Only 13 percent say government has a positive impact on the lives of most Americans. Another 17 percent say it has little impact.

Republicans have the most critical view of government, with 81 percent saying it has a negative impact on most people's lives. But a majority of independents (61 percent) and Democrats (55 percent) felt the say way.

Just one in four Americans say elections make the government pay a good deal of attention to what people think. That's down from 36 percent in 2001 and 41 percent in 1995. One in three say elections make the government pay some attention to the will of the people, while 37 percent say they don't have much impact.

More from the poll:

Poll: Views of Congress (again) hit new low
Poll: 7 in 10 say Obama has not helped economy
Poll: Just 1 in 5 Americans happy with direction of country
Poll: Nearly 2 in 3 want troops in Afghanistan decreased
Poll: Half of U.S. says Afghan war not a success
Read the complete poll (PDF)

This poll was conducted by telephone from September 28-October 2, 2011 among 1,012 adults nationwide. 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 error for subgroups is higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
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