What do Americans Think of Nonpayers: Part II

October 1, 2012

FoxNews has released a new poll in which they ask respondents if they believe everyone should be required to pay at least some amount of income tax – even if it is as little as one percent of their income. No doubt to the surprise of many of Washington’s chattering class who have been pillorying Mitt Romney for his inelegant comments about nonpayers, 79 percent of the 1,208 registered voters surveyed said “yes” that they thought everyone should pay some income taxes.

These results actually show more support for everyone paying income taxes than the Tax Foundation/Harris Interactive Poll we conducted in 2009 in which 66 percent of adults responded affirmatively.

As we found in our earlier poll, this is not an issue that has large differences of opinion between the various political or demographic groups. The FoxNews poll received nearly identical affirmative responses from men and women, whites and non-whites, and those with and without college degrees. The biggest differences among age groups was between those under age 35 – of which 87 percent responded affirmatively – and those over age 65 – of which “only” 72 percent said everyone should pay some income taxes.

What differences we do find are between Democrats and Republicans and liberals and conservatives. Among those who identified themselves as Democrats, 71 percent said everyone should pay some income taxes, while 85 percent of self-identified Republicans and 83 percent of Independents responded in the same manner. On the ideological spectrum, 71 percent of liberals thought everyone should pay income taxes while 85 percent of conservatives were of the same opinion.

Romney may have spoken inelegantly – condescendingly to some – but he certainly raised an issue that has universal support and, thus, deserves an honest public debate.

23. Do you believe all Americans should be required to pay some amount of federal income taxes, even if it is as little as one percent of their income?

Total

Dem

Rep

Ind

Men

Women

White

Non-white

College Degree

No College Degree

Yes

79%

71%

85%

83%

79%

79%

78%

81%

75%

83%

No

19%

26%

13%

16%

20%

19%

20%

17%

23%

15%

(Don't know)

2%

2%

2%

2%

1%

3%

2%

2%

2%

2%

Total

Under age 35

35-54

55+

65+

$50k

$50k+

Lib

Cons

Yes

79%

87%

78%

75%

72%

79%

80%

71%

85%

No

19%

12%

20%

22%

27%

20%

19%

27%

14%

(Don't know)

2%

1%

2%

2%

1%

2%

1%

2%

2%

The Fox News Poll is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R). The poll was conducted by telephone with live interviewers September 24-26, 2012 among a random national sample of 1,208 registered voters (RV). A subsample of 1,092 has been defined as likely voters (LV), with a margin of sampling error of ± 3 percentage points. Results are of registered voters, unless otherwise noted.

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