Independents not on board with GOP tax plan
December 6, 2017
• Majority of independents (56 percent) join 87 percent of Democrats in opposing tax plan
• Just 29 percent of Americans overall approve of the proposed tax changes
As the Senate version of the Republican tax reform bill made its way through the legislative process this past weekend, Gallup documented a highly partisan imbalance in Americans' reactions.
A mere 7 percent of Democrats and just 25 percent of independents polled Friday and Saturday as the GOP plan moved toward its party-line approval say they approve of the proposed changes to the federal tax code, contrasted with 70 percent of Republicans.
Mostly as a result of weak support from Democrats and independents regarding the proposed tax changes, only 29 percent of U.S. adults as a whole approve of the plan, while 56 percent disapprove and 16 percent have no opinion.
Still, 16 percent of Republicans disapprove, resulting in fewer Republicans approving of the plan (70 percent) than Democrats disapproving (87 percent), according to Gallup’s polling.
The tax bill now heads to conference committee where representatives from the House and Senate will work to craft compromise legislation that could get through both chambers by month's end.
Americans' current approval of the proposed tax changes is lower than the 39 percent approval Gallup found the last time Congress took on a major overhaul of the federal tax code. That was in 1986, with President Ronald Reagan spearheading the legislation.
However, the big difference between the two efforts is that far fewer Americans opposed the 1986 tax bill than oppose the proposals being debated today, 34 percent vs. 56 percent, respectively, Gallup says. More than a quarter of Americans in September 1986, just prior to final passage of that plan, expressed no opinion about it -- roughly twice today's level.
Sizable Portion of Republicans and Independents Undecided on Plan
If there is a bright spot in these data for Republicans, Gallup says, it is that public uncertainty about the plan is highest among Republicans (14 percent) and independents (19 percent) -- two groups that might break relatively positively toward the law as they learn more about it, thus nudging overall approval a bit higher. By contrast, just 7 percent of Democrats have no opinion about the GOP tax proposals.
Notably, Democrats have been following the news about congressional debate over the tax bill more closely than other party groups have, according to Gallup’s polling. Thirty-nine percent of Democrats report following the topic very closely -- well above the 28 percent of Republicans and 25 percent of independents.
Even when factoring in those following the tax bill somewhat closely, Democrats are still more attentive, with 74 percent following it very or somewhat closely, versus 67 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of independents.
“While the 29 percent of Americans favoring the current tax plan isn't markedly different from the 39 percent who favored Reagan's tax cut plan in 1986, today's plan sparks much more disapproval, leaving fewer Americans uncertain about the plan,” Gallup says. “Further, intensity seems to be on the side of the opposition, with Democrats paying closer attention to news about the tax proposals and appearing more unified in their opposition to the plan than Republicans are in support of it.”
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 1-2, 2017, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 1,020 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70 percent cellphone respondents and 30 percent landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.