November 13, 2013  |  

New Poll Shows Americans Strongly Want to Close Tax Loopholes Benefiting the Rich and Corporations in Next Budget Deal


TJ Helmstetter
Communications Director

New Poll Shows Americans Strongly Want to Close Tax Loopholes Benefiting the Rich and Corporations in Next Budget Deal

Survey Shows Little Appetite for a Spending Cuts-Only Approach

WASHINGTONAmericans for Tax Fairness today released the results of a new poll on taxes and spending issues that will be central to the next round of the federal budget debate. The poll was conducted by Hart Research Associates.

The poll reveals that the public has little desire for an all-cuts approach to deficit reduction, and that by a 17-point margin (56% to 39%) it wants the next budget agreement to include new tax revenues from the wealthy and corporations, in addition to spending cuts. Independents favor a balanced approach by a 19-point margin and moderates support it by a 42-point margin.

The poll also shows that by a 40-point margin (68% to 28%) the public wants Congress to focus on both creating jobs and reducing the deficit, not to focus only on deficit reduction.

When it comes to what to do about the new $110 billion in automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, which are set to kick in next January, the public by a two-to-one margin (53% to 27%) wants to see at least half of the cuts replaced with revenue from the wealthy and corporations.

And strikingly, voters overall support a proposal to cancel the sequester spending cuts entirely and replace them with new tax revenue from the wealthy and corporations by 16 points (50% to 34%).

“The poll reveals a public that wants any new budget deal to include significant new revenue from closing tax loopholes that benefit the rich and corporations,” said Geoff Garin, President of Hart Research Associates. “They do not just want a debate about cutting spending. The party that is on the side of a balanced approach will hit the sweet spot with the public.”

While there has been much talk in Congress about using any revenue generated from closing tax loopholes to reduce income tax rates, the poll shows that the public has almost no interest in this approach. Instead, by a margin of 82% to 9%, the public says revenue generated from limiting tax deductions for the wealthy or closing corporate tax loopholes should be used for public investments and deficit reduction.

Voters also strongly oppose offsetting the sequester by making cuts in Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. By a staggering 70% to 12%, voters say sequester relief should be offset by closing tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations rather than reducing spending on Social Security and Medicare.

The poll demonstrates overwhelming support for measures to create a fairer tax system:

79% favor closing “tax loopholes to ensure that American corporations pay as much on foreign profits as on profits generated in the United States.”
71% support the “Buffett rule, which sets a minimum income tax rate of 30% for millionaires to ensure they do not pay a lower tax rate than the middle class.”
69% support ending “tax loopholes for corporate meals and entertainment.”
68% favor eliminating the carried interest “loophole that allows Wall Street hedge fund managers to pay a lower tax rate than middle-class taxpayers.”

On a conference call for reporters to release the poll, representatives from organizations that co-chair Americans for Tax Fairness offered their perspectives on the results.

Chuck Loveless, Director of Federal Government Affairs of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), told reporters that the results show that “Democrats don’t have to be afraid to stand up for tax fairness.”

Michael Linden, Managing Director for Economic Policy of the Center for American Progress, said that the poll shows that “When Americans are given a list of options about how to reduce the deficit, their first choice is to close corporate tax loopholes. That is something that is not discussed nearly enough here in Washington.”

The poll surveyed 1,009 voters and was conducted on Oct. 25 through Oct. 30, 2013 after the end of the government shutdown.


Americans for Tax Fairness is a diverse coalition of more than 325 national and state organizations that collectively represent tens of millions of members. The organization was formed on the belief that the country needs comprehensive, progressive tax reform that results in greater revenue to meet our growing needs. ATF is playing a central role in Washington and in the states on federal tax-reform issues.