November 7, 2012  |  


CONTACT:  Sean Crowley, 202-550-6524-c,


Elections, Exit Polls, Ballot Initiatives Show Voters Nationwide Endorse Tax-Fairness Agenda 

Majority Favors Ending Bush Tax Cuts for Richest 2 Percent   

(Washington, D.C. – November 7, 2012) Voters nationwide showed they favored a tax-fairness agenda that includes ensuring the richest 2 percent of Americans with household income above $250,000 pay their fair share of taxes so working Americans no longer get stuck with the tab.

“President Obama’s election victory was a rejection of the Republican Party’s insistence on tax cuts for the wealthy few at all cost, and a mandate for Congress to end the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent,” said Frank Clemente, Campaign Manager of Americans for Tax Fairness.

“Whether to renew the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent was one of the defining issues of this campaign. President Obama was steadfast in his opposition to a new round of tax cuts for the wealthy. Governor Romney championed their renewal. It’s time for Washington to put this tax-fairness agenda into action. No delays. No excuses.”

“Exit polling and public opinion data, the success or defeat of major tax ballot measures and the victory of four progressive Senate candidates in which taxes were a significant issue, all confirms that when it comes to taxes, tax fairness trumps all other issues. The national tax-revolt movement, which started in 1978 in California, appears to be dead and gone.”



2012 Election Exit Poll Data found that:

  • 60 percent of 2012 voters supported either ending the Bush tax cuts for those Americans who make more than $250,000 a year (47 percent) or ending them for everyone (13 percent). Just 35 percent said those tax cuts should be renewed for everyone.
  • Almost all voters thought Obama’s policies favor the middle class (44 percent) or poor (31 percent), while 53 percent thought Romney’s policies would favor the rich.

2012 Election Poll Data from the AFL-CIO of 819 voters surveyed nationwide found that:

  • By 64 percent to 17 percent, voters said we should maintain Social Security and Medicare benefits, and address the deficit by increasing taxes on the rich, not address the deficit by reducing Social Security and Medicare benefits.
  • 62 percent of voters said the “message [they] were trying to send to the next president and Congress with [their] votes this year” was: “We should make sure the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes.”
  • 33 percent of voters said the comments Mitt Romney made about 47 percent of Americans was a very important consideration in their vote decision.



An analysis by Center for American Progress’s Think Progress blogger Pat Garofalo shows that voters favored raising taxes on the richest 2 percent.

  • California approves $6 billion tax increase: California approved both an increase in the sales tax and a tax increase on those making more than $250,000 per year, with the money hopefully preventing cuts to the state’s university system. California has been the epicenter of nonsensical anti-tax ballot questions for decades.
  • Florida rejects Amendment 3: Amendment 3, which would have limited public spending and revenue collection via a flawed formula, while requiring supermajorities to override these limits, was easily defeated. The amendment needed 60 percent approval to take effect, but received just 42 percent of the vote.
  • Supermajority requirement crushed in Michigan: A proposal to implement a requirement that tax increases receive a supermajority vote in the state legislature was rejected by a vote of 69 percent to 31 percent.



An analysis by Center for American Progress’s Think Progress blogger Travis Waldron shows that four GOP Senate candidates lost the argument over taxes last night:

  • Sen. Scott Brown — Massachusetts: Massachusetts’ junior senator lost his race to Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren (D) after being repeatedly hit for his opposition to raising taxes on millionaires and for his opposition to a payroll tax cut extension that would have largely benefited the middle class. Taxes were the “sharpest difference” between the two, according to the Boston Globe, and Warren ran ads against Brown’s filibuster of the payroll tax cut extension and in debates tied him to Grover Norquist, the anti-tax activist who authored a radical no-taxes pledge. While Brown opposed raising taxes on the wealthy, that policy was a “central plank” of the victorious Warren’s campaign.
  • Linda McMahon — Connecticut: McMahon, a former professional wrestling executive, released a tax plan that was virtually identical to presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s. And like Romney, McMahon pitched her plan as a tax cut for the middle class even as it provided massive tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations. McMahon often misrepresented the details of that plan, particularly when her opponent, Rep. Chris Murphy (D), challenged her in debates.
  • Tommy Thompson — Wisconsin: Thompson also faced criticism from his opponent, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D), for his support of Norquist’s tax pledge, which he seemed to misunderstand in one debate when he stated that it did not prohibit increasing taxes on the wealthy. While Baldwin was a sponsor of the Buffett Rule, President Obama’s plan to institute a minimum tax on millionaires, Thompson supported new tax cuts for the rich.
  • Josh Mandel — Ohio: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) repeatedly hit Mandel for his support of Norquist’s tax pledge. “Signing a pledge to a fat-cat lobbyist like Grover Norquist is essentially giving away your right to think,” Brown said to Mandel during one of their debates. Mandel called for the elimination of the estate tax and reductions in investment and corporate tax rates, both giveaways to the rich. Mandel also called for a “flatter, fairer” tax code, the type of change that would almost surely raise taxes on low- and middle-income voters while giving the rich a huge tax cut.


Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) is a diverse campaign of over 225 national, state, and local organizations united in support of a tax system that works for all Americans. It has come together based on the belief that the country needs comprehensive, progressive tax reform that results in greater revenue to meet our growing needs. This starts by ending the Bush-era tax breaks for the richest 2 percent and by making critical investments that create and sustain jobs while taking a balanced approach to addressing America’s fiscal challenges.


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