In the fierce headline debate over the so-called fiscal cliff, our newly reelected president argues that “a majority of Americans agree with [his] approach.” That approach, according to the president, is “to combine spending cuts with revenue — and that means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes.”
Well, that’s not exactly what the exit polls said.
To the question “Should taxes be raised to help cut the budget deficit?” only 33% answered “yes” while 63% responded “no.” Isn’t that interesting? Nobody’s talking about this exit-poll nugget.
Now, it is true that when the question is asked only about income-tax rates, 13% are okay with an increase for all, 47% want an increase only on incomes over $250,000, and 35% don’t want increases for anyone. That’s not so surprising. Most people make less than $250,000 a year, and would therefore say, “Well, heck, just tax the rich people.”
Even on that point, though, the margin is only 37 to 45. It’s below 50%, and not a massive mandate. When one combines that with the earlier question, where nearly two-thirds don’t want to raise taxes at all, you have to ask whether the country isn’t a whole lot more divided on these and other questions than President Obama would have us believe.
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