Poll Questions on the Estate Tax

June 05, 2006

With the Senate preparing to vote on estate tax changes, there's been renewed interest in our estate-tax-related poll questions from our 2006 Annual Survey of U.S. Attitudes on Taxes and Wealth.

In an op-ed in this morning's Washington Post, Sen. Jeff Sessions cites our survey responses about whether U.S. adults favor repeal, and their views on the fairness of the estate tax:

Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed in a recent poll commissioned by the Tax Foundation supported repeal of the estate tax. Moreover, the death tax was rated by Americans in the same survey as the least fair tax .

Also, a new FactCheck.org article on the estate tax notes our 2006 survey:

The Tax Foundation poll, published in March 2006 asked respondents... "Of the following federal taxes, which do you think is the worst tax — that is, the least fair?" The estate tax led the way with 31 per cent of respondents ranking it first.

For the record, here are the two actual estate-tax questions from our 2006 survey:

Q670. Some taxes are paid to the federal government in Washington and some are paid to state and local governments. Of the following federal taxes, which do you think is the worst tax -- that is, the least fair?

2006

2005

31%

30%

The federal estate tax

25%

26%

Federal income tax

14%

15%

Social Security payroll tax

7%

8%

Federal corporate income tax

21%

21%

Not sure

Source: Tax Foundation

Q715. Do you personally favor or oppose completely eliminating the estate tax – that is, the tax on property left by people who die?

2006

2005

68%

68%

Favor

19%

17%

Oppose

14%

15%

Not sure

Source: Tax Foundation

Read the full survey here.

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